Peter Bermant, a senior at Park City High School in Utah, created a concept syringe with the goal of providing people in developing countries with much needed vaccinations. One of the barriers to get vaccinations to those in need, is the ability to keep them the right temperature during transport and storage when there is no refrigeration. Bermant’s syringe design, which he created as part of a school project, overcomes this barrier.
“The device is a compartmentalized syringe that (I hope) will be able to increase the accessibility of vaccinations by eliminating the need for refrigeration,” Bermant said. He explained that current methods of vaccine preparation requires vaccines to be stored within a certain temperature range. If the temperature is too warm or too cold, the vaccine loses viability.
“If exposed to freezing or even mildly warm (room temperature) conditions, the vaccines' stability and efficacy decrease substantially,” said Bermant. “However, there is not always access to refrigeration in developing countries, leading to a limitation on global vaccine distribution.”
Bermant used 3D printing to prototype a syringe that has two compartments instead of one. One compartment contains the freeze-dried vaccine, which he explained remains stable at room temperature. The other compartment contains sterile water. Before the patient is given the vaccine, the two are mixed by turning a knob on the syringe.
Bermant said 3D printing was key to the project because before 3D printing he would not have been able to create the prototype. “I found the concept of 3D printing the modified syringe device to be particularly attractive because I recognized that the 3D printing process is a rapid, economical and convenient method for developing tangible prototypes,” said Bermant. “3D printing facilitated the creation of a prototype and provided me with a tangible and functional model that I can use for demonstrations.”
Bermant explained patenting and mass producing the syringe isn’t feasible right now due to cost. He also does not want to get in the way of others developing a similar object that could help millions of people around the world.
Bermant is looking at redesigning other medical device to help improve health care throughout the world. He plans on helping people later in life as well as a heart surgeon.