High School Student 3D Prints Innovative Syringe Which Could Expand Vaccination Possibilities
Thursday, July 17, 2014
While some high school students were worrying about their school portraits or who might take them to the prom, Park City High School senior Peter Bermant was worrying about the problems with distributing vaccines in developing countries. Bermant, who wants to continue his efforts to help others by becoming a heart surgeon some day, used 3D printing technology to prototype his creation.
Bermant began his project by considering one of the primary obstacles to current vaccine distribution: refrigeration. When a vaccine is exposed to any temperature outside of its ‘comfort zone’ its effectiveness is decreased. It doesn’t matter whether the stress is caused by being too hot or being too cold, either case results in damage to the vaccine. For this reason, vaccines currently require storage space in refrigerated units that, unfortunately, aren’t always available.
Rather than simply bemoan the situation, Bremant put himself to work thinking about alternatives that wouldn’t require the refrigeration in order to expand the possibilities for global vaccine distribution. His final design eliminates the need for temperature-controlled storage by housing the freeze-dried vaccine in one unit of a syringe and sterile water in a other. The vaccine is released into the water by turning the handle on the syringe thus creating the injectable solution only in the moments just before its use.