Innovations in health are key to relieving the ever-increasing burden that diseases place on health systems around the world. A Capitol Hill briefing this week, called “Partnerships for Innovation: Simple Solutions that Save Lives,” emphasized the importance of global health product development partnerships to leverage simple solutions to improve and save the lives of millions worldwide. The briefing was hosted by Research!America, BIO Ventures for Global Health, PATH and the Global Health Technologies Coalition.
One example of a simple solution with a big impact is a small sticker that changes color to let health workers know if a vaccine is safe for use after exposure to less-than-ideal temperatures. USAID, PATH and New Jersey-based TempTime Corporation partnered to create these special heat-sensitive stickers – called Vaccine Vial Monitors – that are attached to each vaccine vial at the manufacturing site. The sticker measures heat and cold exposure as the vaccine is moved from the production line to the final destination. If the vaccine ever gets to too hot or too cold and is no longer usable, the sticker changes color and the vial is discarded.
Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sponsored the event. Sires reiterated the importance of supporting global health research and development, especially at a time when the U.S. cannot afford to let partnerships for innovation “fall by the wayside.” His remarks echoed the need for continued support in the area of simple technologies capable of bringing dramatic results such as improved health and lives saved.