Researchers–from the University of Birmingham, Heriot-Watt University, BRAC University, and BUET–are working on assessing and developing a vaccine cold-chain for rapid and mass immunisation against Covid-19 in Bangladesh.
The team from BRAC University comprises Dr Farzana Munshi, Professor of Economics, and Ahsan Senan, Lecturer of Economics. The on-going project has been running from August 2020 and will continue till February 2022.
The project is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), according to a press release issued.
Bangladesh has one of the world's largest pharmaceutical and vaccine industries, with a vaccination framework supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
However, the country still lacks the capacity to deliver unprecedented, fast-track mass vaccinations, the press release said.
Project developer Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham said, "Bangladesh is confronted with a difficult challenge of protecting their people and sustaining the economy. Rapid and efficient mass vaccination is the only way forward."
"Sustainable cold-chain development will support Bangladesh's economy and this work will help create a blueprint and model for an efficient delivery mechanism to ensure that the vaccine will be provided globally," he said.
Co-Investigator Professor Farzana Munshi, of BRAC University said, "The Covid-19 vaccination will require a new fast-track approach to assess, re-engineer and build out the cold-chain logistics assets."
"This project will assist policy-makers in designing policies on the most sustainable interventions on the medical supply chain at the regional and national scale for Covid-19 but also other potential future natural disasters and epidemics," Professor Farzana Munshi added.
The team is trying to design the right system to meet the challenge in the most sustainable and financially efficient way for Bangladesh.
Researchers will assess different intervention scenarios for mass Covid-19 vaccinations; providing Bangladesh's policymakers with critical information and proposals that will help shape the country's immunisation strategies and priorities, the press release added.