Industry News: SLS and Eppendorf to supply ultra-low temperature freezers for UK COVID-19 vaccines

14 Dec 2020


Scientific Laboratory Supplies (SLS) and one of the leading international life sciences companies, Eppendorf, have been chosen to provide ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers for the country’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

SLS – one of the UK's largest independent suppliers of chemicals, laboratory equipment and consumables – was awarded a contract by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to equip two central storage sites and 54 regional hubs with the vital laboratory equipment required for safe and secure storage of the newly developed vaccine.

SLS has over 25 years of experience supporting the UK life sciences and healthcare sectors with a wide range of laboratory equipment, and has worked closely with Eppendorf, the DHSC and the NHS to ensure that these freezers would be ready as soon as a vaccine became available. The SLS team provided information and advice, identifying Eppendorf’s UK-manufactured ULT freezers as the best suited to the vaccination programme’s needs. The contract will provide 380 of the 101 litre under-bench units, and 60 of the 570 litre mass storage units, vastly increasing the sites’ current capacity to safely store the vaccine. The company is also coordinating the delivery, installation and testing of the units, as well as supplying the personal protective equipment necessary for each site, allowing the entire rollout to be completed in a matter of weeks.

Bob Mclaughlin, Sales Director at SLS, explained: “This is an extremely ambitious and challenging project as, until recently, we didn’t know when a vaccine might be approved, or what its storage requirements might be. Open communication and adaptability have been essential, and we have worked side-by-side with Eppendorf to develop a strategy that would allow us to deliver and validate these large, heavy ULT freezers to almost 60 sites at very short notice. We are very proud of what we have achieved, providing everything on time and on budget to help in the UK’s fight against SARS-CoV-2.”

Steve Dey, Head of European Segment Marketing at Eppendorf UK, added: “Eppendorf is very proud that products we have long provided to the global life science community will assist with efforts to beat SARS-CoV-2. Working closely with our long-term partner SLS and our UK manufacturing site, we are extremely pleased that our ultra-low temperature freezers will be in the front line, supporting the NHS and the British public.”

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