Study: Drone Vaccine Deliveries Save Lives

While the anti-science, anti-vaxxer crowd continues to shoot up media attention with dose after dose of misguided information, low-income nations with actual medical problems face real-world problems when it comes to obtaining vaccines.

Vaccines delivered by ground vehicles to people in need can often spoil before arriving due to supply-chain bottlenecks and other inefficiencies, depriving the people can’t afford medicine the vaccines they depserately need.

Of course, DroneLife readers know what comes next: UAVs to the rescue.

Writing in the journal Vaccine, a multinational research team simulated a drone delivery project using a software package. The result: simulated delivery drones save money, times and lives.

Using software developed by the World Health Organization, the team simulated drone deliveries “under a range of circumstances reflecting variations in geography, population, road conditions, and vaccine schedules,” according to the journal report.

And, drone solutions may come to rescue in the nick of time — the costs of vaccine delivery systems in Third World countries may climb by as much as 80 percent by 2020; mostly due to supply-chain issues that UAVS could solve.

After completing initial tests, researchers estimated that drone delivery decreased “logistics cost per dose administered by approximately 20 percent.”

It’s too early to tell if drone-delivered vaccine projects would work as well in the real world – however, the research team is confident that the immense amount of data factors fed into the software will translate well to reality.

“Implementing a UAS could increase vaccine availability and decrease costs in a wide range of settings and circumstances if the drones are used frequently enough to overcome the capital costs of installing and maintaining the system,” the report stated.

Delivering vaccines and other medical resources is yet another example of how drones are being used to save lives.

For example, plans are underway to build the world’s first “droneports” in Rwanda with the goal of launching UAVs to deliver medical supplies and electronic parts to the beleaguered nation.

In India, the nation’s National Programme for Micro Air Vehicles is working on pilot project in Bengaluru that would deploy drones to deliver organs such as hearts, kidneys and kidneys in far less time than traditional ground vehicles.

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