Pharmaceuticals need to be stored in adequate conditions. This has becomes especially relevant in light of the recent advancements made in production of medicine. Take monoclonal anti-bodies for instance; they have to be stored under low temperature conditions. While the conventional technique of cold chain is there, innovations have been made.
Here are some of the innovations that have taken place in recent times:
Cryopreservation refers to keeping the biological material under freezing temperature. This is important for medicine which can include vaccine stocks. The problem with conventional storage is that biological material can get denatured very quickly if the cold conditions are imperfect.
Nowadays, the use of enzymes and biological drugs is common. Many of them have storage and working temperature of 2 to 10oC. They are sensitive to even the slightest change in temperature at times. In the process of cryopreservation, the stock is lyophilized (frozen) and then distributed to required places. When it reaches the place of use, it can be revived in a process known as thawing.
This method has literally revolutionized the way of saving valuable materials and medicines. So if a monoclonal anti-body or a vaccine is manufactured in one part of the globe, it can be easily sent to the other using this method. With efficient delivery to the research labs around the world and pharmaceutical R&D sectors, the output is also increased. The storage option matches up to effective storage techniques like biological storage.
Nanoparticle based storage
Among the recent changes in healthcare, an important one is the development of nanoparticles. The beauty of these particles is that they can be used multiple purposes ranging from drug delivery to drug storage.
Nanoparticles are made from different material whose property is that they are bio-compatible. We can encapsulate our drug within these nanoparticles and use/store them. The difference in the case of using them would be that they have to be delivered inside the body, so these nanoparticles are combined with an element such as zinc. A lot of research is underway for the use of nanoparticles in a number of ways in the health care industry.
The main risk factors when it comes to the denaturing of pharmaceutical products include moisture, light, temperature, bacterial/fungal growth among others. Not only do the medicines need effective storage, but their raw materials, which are often imported by many different labs, also need proper protection.
Another recent method devised to keep the raw material solution from changing their properties is by adding an osmoprotectant. One of the most used one is glycerol or glycine betaine. If there is a salt based solution, the target is to maintain the salt concentration as required. However, if moisture accumulates, the concentration would get diluted. This is where osmoprotectants are important.
The material used for packing purposes is another storage and protection option. There is a material known as Parafilm, which is often used in labs for wrapping petri plates for bacterial growth. The same material can be used for the protection of medicines. For protection against bacterial contamination, normally some sodium benzoate is added to inhibit them. Development has been made in the kind of chemical/buffer that can be used for the protection of liquid based medicines against bacterial attack.
Article By Jennifer Smith