WHO receives prestigious award for validation of the shake test
6 April 2011 - WHO and partners were today presented with the Ludwig Rajchman Prize of the Committee of the Scientific Council of the National Institute of Public Health of Poland, during a ceremony held in Warsaw. The prize was awarded for the research work validating the shake test for detecting freeze damage to adsorbed vaccines.
Good temperature control during the storage and transport of vaccines is critical to ensure their potency and safety. Liquid formulations of aluminium-based vaccines against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b, alone or in combination, should not be frozen. However, practices that expose vaccines to sub-zero temperatures are widespread in both developed and developing countries.
The shake test is designed to determine whether adsorbed vaccines have been affected by freezing. Although widely practiced in the field by staff at all levels of the health system, prior to this research it had never been validated as a reference test by comparison to a “gold standard”, i.e. visual observation under a phase contrast microscope. The concordance in establishing the status of a vaccine as frozen or non-frozen was 100% between the microscopy test and the shake test performed by health-care workers. The results of the study fully support the hypothesis that the accuracy of the shake test does not vary by product, type of vaccine, vaccine manufacturer, aluminium content or expiry date.
The Ludwig Rajchman Prize was established to commemorate Ludwig Rajchman, the first Director of the National Institute of Hygiene of Poland, in order to promote original achievements in public health research.