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Explained: How to sterilise vials for the Covid-19 vaccine

Most of the glass vials being made in Europe to hold the Covid-19 vaccine for are sterilised by a small family-owned business in canton Fribourg. Here's how.

This content was published on January 27, 2021 - 14:59

The pallets delivered by truck contain around 23,000 vials each. Sixteen pallets can be placed in a sterilisation chamber for 12 to 18 hours, which means a total of 300,000 are sterilised each cycle.

Medistri, a family business based in the small village of Domdidier in canton Fribourg, is specialised in the gas sterilisation of medical and pharmaceutical devices. Three of the five major producers of vials in Europe are currently delivering their products to the small Swiss company.

"We're definitely more expensive than our European competitors, but we're much more flexible and faster," explains Shoko Nilforoushan, the founder and director of Medistri. "These are decisive assets for medical companies that already have to face long manufacturing processes." 

Sterilising a larger amount of vials doesn't seem to be a problem: the current debate is whether there will be enough raw material to produce all the necessary vials, given global demand. 

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