PharmaWatch™ Simplifies COVID-19 Vaccine Study for Texas A&M

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Background

Texas A&M is a recruitment site for a groundbreaking, NIH funded, COVID-19 vaccine study involving 18,000 young adults, including university students, and the impact of the Moderna vaccine on infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As stated by the Coronavirus Prevention Network, the goal of this study, titled Prevent Covid U, is to “learn if vaccinated people can still be infected with SARS-CoV-2, and if they are able to spread the virus to other people.” As a recruitment site for the study, the Texas A&M Pharmacy is tasked with storing the sensitive Moderna vaccines correctly to protect their efficacy as they are administered to trial participants.

Asim Abu-Baker, the Associate Dean for Clinical and Professional Affairs at Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, shed light on some of the challenges the pharmacy faced in keeping the temperature-sensitive Moderna vaccines properly stored, as well as how PharmaWatch™ was able to alleviate those issues.  

Challenges

It is imperative that vaccines stay within recommended temperature ranges to remain viable, so that study results are completely accurate. As such, proper long-term storage of vaccines, especially those being used in studies and trials, is critical and can prove to be quite challenging at times. Prior to implementing PharmaWatch™, one of the biggest challenges Abu-Baker and his team faced was that staff had to manually monitor temperatures of the freezers where they store the vaccines. This requires staff to be physically in the facility to record temperatures by hand, which is costly and time consuming, as it takes time to coordinate and must be properly compensated.  Additionally, because the staff only took a temperature reading periodically, it was possible that they were unknowingly missing temperature excursions that resolved before the next reading, but that could nonetheless cause the vaccines to be rendered unusable.  This manual process was also problematic in that it lacked any ability to notify staff if equipment began trending out of range, either between readings or during off hours. This meant that staff would not be aware of any issue until their next manually recording, which could be too late.

How PharmaWatch™ Helped

PharmaWatch™ monitoring was able to ease these challenges for Abu-Baker and his team through real-time data collection, alerting, and usage of the web portal. PharmaWatch™ sensors communicate with the cloud via IoT cellular, reporting data to the portal every 5 minutes and sending alerts via SMS, voice call, or email whenever a reading falls outside of the client’s identified alert range. This provides the staff peace of mind when they’re out of the facility, because they know their vaccines are safe, and that they will be notified if temperatures falls out of range. The PharmaWatch™ web portal displays temperature data for multiple locations on one centralized dashboard and can be viewed from any internet connected device. This allows Abu-Baker to monitor the vaccines remotely, requiring less staff to be physically in the facility, saving both time and money.

Conclusion

The efficacy of the Moderna vaccines for this study is of the utmost importance. If the study is to have accurate results about the transmission and infection rates of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals, which can heavily impact how quickly we can return to a post-pandemic normal life, every vaccine administered for this study needs to be viable. PharmaWatch™ has helped ensure this, while giving peace of mind, saving money, and making the lives of Abu-Baker and his team easier during this critical study.

 

A big thank you to Asim Abu-Baker for providing this insight for us.

Reference:

The Study

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