(WFSB) – As the country gets closer to a COVID-19 vaccine, one Connecticut company will play a big role when the time comes to distribute it.
On Thursday, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz joined with the Gilman Brothers Company to highlight its work with the U.S. Army Crops of Engineers.
The Bozrah based manufacturing company designed a vaccine transport system which using dry ice, would maintain the below freezing temperatures needed for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The company says its system would be able to keep the ultra-cold temperature consistent for 72 hours.
“Being in manufacturing for 100 plus years, able to draw on our experience in thermal insulation, not too daunting with the Army’s specification,” said Evan Gilman, Gilman Brothers Company.
Back when the pandemic started, just like most manufacturers, the Gilman Brothers Company was looking to stay busy, keeping their employees working.
They did that by working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to produce hospital beds for field hospitals.
So, when the government realized it would need help transporting the vaccine in ultra-cold temperatures, it reached back out to the company with is specifications.
That’s when Gilman and its team got to work, coming up with the system.
"Gilman has stepped forward, designed, and built a prototype and it's ready to go just at this moment when the vaccines are about to be manufactured," Bysiewicz said.
So, how does it work? The vaccine would go inside a box, which would go inside the transportation system.
It’s not a very big system. There are channels, which encompass the vials of vaccines and the dry ice fills and covers that, keeping it cold.
When the time comes, Gilman says it will be able to produce 4,000 systems a week, so that’s between two and four million doses.
They stress it's all done with materials and machines plenty of other manufacturers use and they're encouraging other to do just that. It's why the didn't seek a patent.
"If other companies want to copy the design, this is life and death," Gilman said.
The company says they’ve got a couple of designs, one that can hold 500 doses and another that holds 1,000 doses.