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the Pfizer Vaccine can be stored for two weeks without ultra-cold

New data indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech could be stored for two weeks without the ultra-cold temperature currently required, which could improve its use.

The companies said on Friday they sent the findings of ongoing stability tests to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has authorized the vaccine’s emergency use in the country and will forward the data to the U.S. regulators around the world in the coming weeks.

The companies want regulators to update temperature requirements to indicate that vaccines can remain effective for two weeks if stored between -25 and -15 degrees Celsius (-13 and 5 Fahrenheit), as an option.

Refrigerators used in many pharmacies and hospitals commonly reach these temperatures, but not the currently authorized Pfizer / BioNTech injection temperature range of -80 to -60 degrees Celsius (-112 to -76 Fahrenheit). The vaccine can remain stable at these ultra-low temperatures for up to six months.

That’s why New York-based BioNTech and Pfizer ship the vaccine vials in special insulated containers that can serve as temporary storage for up to 30 days by constantly adding dry ice. Still, that can make storing and then thawing and administering the vaccine challenging in many places, particularly developing countries.

Companies have been testing the stability of vaccine batches manufactured at different times over the past nine months and continue to investigate ways to increase the shelf life of the injection.

“If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility in the way they manage their vaccine supply,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

This injection, along with Moderna’s, is one of two vaccines that are licensed for emergency use in the United States. A third vaccine, created by Johnson & Johnson, is expected to gain FDA approval for emergency use within two weeks.

The Moderna-manufactured vaccine started with equally cold temperature requirements in early-stage studies before stability tests showed it could be stored at normal freezing temperatures.