Every year, over 1 million children die from diseases that are preventable with vaccines. The problem isn’t just that vaccines aren’t available. Even when they are, breakdowns in the refrigerated vaccine supply chain (aka the "cold chain")--which often occur in areas where power is unreliable--make them unusable.
Global Good, a collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures, is pilot-testing a possible solution: the Passive Vaccine Storage Device, dubbed the "super-thermos" by Gates. The device, which has been in the works since 2008 (when Gates first challenged Intellectual Ventures to tackle the problem), keeps vaccines between zero and eight degrees Celsius for 30 to 60 days, depending on outside temperatures and humidity. That’s a big deal in many parts of the developing world, where health officials often see cold storage devices that can keep vaccines fresh for five days at the absolute maximum.