March 1, 2015

Putting the Freeze on the Ebola Outbreak


One year ago, most of the world did not know what the Ebola disease was, nor how quickly or easily that it could spread. That changed, nearly overnight, as an Ebola outbreak reached crisis proportions in West Africa with cases being reported around the world. As of January, World Health Organization (WHO) figures showed nearly 22,000 cases of Ebola in nine countries in the past year since the epidemic began in Guinea. This includes nearly 8,700 deaths. Pharmaceutical companies quickly jumped into the race to develop an Ebola vaccination, with several currently in clinical trials to prove safety and effectiveness.

Thermo King is proud to be playing a small role in the fight against Ebola through the unique, deep-freezing capabilities of its SuperFreezer container unit.

According to Patrick Tyrell of Ireland-based CRS Pharma Solutions, “While proper storage and transport temperatures have always been crucial in the pharmaceutical industry, it is vital in new products as the reaction of various components during temperature fluctuations are often unknown. For this reason, companies want to store the product as cold as possible. Thermo King’s SuperFreezer was the answer as it holds temperatures below -60 C.”

In business since 1992, CRS Pharma Solutions understands the unique shipping and storage needs of pharmaceuticals, and the stakes involved. “Naturally, product values are very high. Lost loads can cost millions of dollars,” explained Patrick. “More than that, especially with trial products, is the time investment. It often takes months to manufacture one active ingredient within a developmental vaccine or medicine, and often it’s in a limited quantity. If that component is compromised due to inadequate storage temperatures, a delay in vaccine availability can occur. While that might hurt a company’s bottom line, the delay could also mean loss of human life; especially in an epidemic such as Ebola.”

CRS, which has assisted with other world-wide epidemic scares including the Swine Flu and offers temperature validation services to all customers, takes that reality and the responsibility to service the industry seriously. So when a long-time pharmaceutical customer came to them in December 2014 for help in obtaining two reliable, deep-freeze containers for shipment of its trial Ebola vaccine, the company did not hesitate to do all it could do to meet a very tight deadline.

“We recommended the SuperFreezer as the units can be set to -65 C. The customer needed them by the end of February to coordinate with its trial vaccine production schedule,” said Patrick.

Working with Thermo King representatives, CRS was able to move quickly. Coordination of box builders in China, SuperFreezer component availability, and necessary ship times all came together to make the customers’ deadline. Patrick, along with a Thermo King service representative, was there to greet the shipment and make the inspections.

“Relationships are key in this industry,” said Patrick. “They make success stories like this happen.”

Learn more about CRS Pharma Solutions at

More on the Ebola Front

Thermo King SuperFreezer containers have been commissioned by several other companies to support storage or shipment of Ebola trial vaccines, including United Kingdom-based TITAN Containers. A Thermo King customer since 1988, TITAN purchased a SuperFreezer unit in October 2014 that is currently being used by one of its pharmaceutical customers to store its trial Ebola vaccine during production phases. “Thermo King’s SuperFreezer is the only unit available to hold the deep-freeze temperatures needed by our customer,” said Helge Lunau, title, TITAN Containers. “It’s exciting to partner with customers who are truly trying to make the world a better place.”


Customer: CRS Pharma |