If anything could be a game-changer in the global vaccine shortage,….it would be vaccinating as many people as possible with a given amount of vials.
And South Korea's Poonglim Pharmatech is doing just that, producing so-called 'Low Dead Volume syringes'.
The LDV needles can extract an extra dose from vaccine vials.
Consider the Pfizer vaccine.
Standard needles make five doses out of it,…leaving some 84 microliters unused.
But this LDV is capable of extracting six doses as it only leaves 4 microliters.
That's a 20-percent increase in capacity.
There are two other domestically produced LDV's.
But what makes this one different is the "safety guard" which protects medical staff from injury or infection from contaminated needles.
"And once it is re-capped, it can't be reopened. This is very important in dealing with infectious diseases like COVID-19, because it prevents the needle from being re-used or being exposed to other object that could potentially spread the virus."
These needles are a critical component of South Korea's vaccination preparations, especially given that Pfizer will be the country's first vaccine.
"The country receives only limited vaccines so increasing their efficiency is important. It can also prevent cases like Japan's, which had to throw away 20 percent of its vaccines due to a lack of LDVs."
Thanks to its partnership with the government and tech giant Samsung, it's capable of mass producing the needles in an automated smart factory.
Once the Pfizer vaccines arrive, the company will donate around 127-thousand needles for the country.
And is also planning to export supplies in the coming months.
"Last year, a testing kit was South Korea's major COVID-related export item. But this time, world-class LDVs will open a new chapter for the country to take a leading role in the pandemic response."
The needle has obtained approval from the U.S. FDA as well as the CE marking from the European Union.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.