StaTwig CEO on the role of blockchain and IoT in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in India

This episode of The Vaccine Challenge is hosted by Priyanka Asera and features Sid Chakravarthy, CEO & Founder of StaTwig. StaTwig leverages emerging technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things and AI to create continuous visibility and complete traceability of every single vial of vaccine along its journey from a manufacturer to a beneficiary. Sid is UNICEF Innovation Fund Alumni, Gavi Infuse participant and World Economic Forum Global Innovator.

India is the land of vaccine development - with over 60% of the world vaccine manufacturing happening here. India has also had some very successful vaccination drives over the decades-- eg. with the elimination of polio - so it has a ready infrastructure. This gives developing countries like India, an edge over developed countries that haven’t had to deal with the number of vaccination drives common in developing and under-developed nations.

We talk to Sid about the role of emerging technologies in successful vaccine distribution and how it can help reduce waste.

Topics touched upon:

Lay of the land from a distribution perspective for vaccines and what StaTwig has been doing pre-pandemic:

  • India is the largest manufacturer of vaccines world-over. 60% of global production happens in India. One-third is for domestic demand. Two-thirds are imported. Major distributors of vaccines are UNICEF, GAVI and local governments
  • StaTwig started a Proof of Concept in early 2017. It is recognized by UNICEF & The World Economic Forum, and moves 2-3 bn doses of vaccines on its platform each year
  • Supply Chain already has a lot of solutions - ERP, WMS, fleet management, OMS. But these are owned and controlled by separate stakeholders creating data silos and lack of visibility.
  • StaTwig takes a more product-centric approach by creating a Digital ID. For eg. For each vial of vaccine in this case. Pharma industry’s regulation requiring the serialization of each vial helped in this effort

What are the biggest challenges StaTwig helps solve and how:

  • Helps avoid and reduce cold chain failures - temperature excursions during storage and transportation of vaccines, as well as helps avoid expired and counterfeit products
  • IoT has already become prominent. StaTwig links IoT data to individual vials of vaccine. Their platform acts like a record book. You type the serial number and they can tell you where it’s been and what the temp was at each point
  • It can help identify if the product was mishandled, if there were temp problems in specific locations, it can ensure quality and safety of the product. It can also makes them regulatory compliant because a lot of governments are requiring track & trace
  • VVM (Vaccine Vial Monitor) can tell you when a vaccine fails by changing color but you’ll only know that in the end when you open the shipment. StaTwig helps you track and know at the source in real time when the cold chain breaks down. When you can find out WHERE the cold chain breaks, you can preempt and avoid failures in the immediate future by making amends
  • 1-2bn doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected to move through the StatWig platform this year. 25-30% failures can be avoided by the technology StaTwig leverages.

How do you track for inoculations and how does India fare when it comes to vaccine drives:

  • Have a simple mobile-based wallet to track two-dose inoculations and send reminders to people. Unique ID of a vaccine is linked to a Unique ID of a person - this closes the loop
  • In India, you register on the CoWIN app to schedule appointments through the app so the government can track vaccine coverage.
  • Immunization camps are very successful in India generally because of the diseases they had to deal with and so the infrastructure already exists. Developed countries will see more issues in supply chain than developing or under-developed countries for that reason because governments and supply chains are used to such vaccine drives

About Sid

Sid Chakravarthy is Founder and CEO of StaTwig, which develops supply chain intelligence solutions such as VaccineLedger that ensures quality and safety of the vaccines in the extended supply chains.

VaccineLedger leverages emerging technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things and AI to create continuous visibility and complete traceability of every single vial of vaccine along its journey from a manufacturer to a beneficiary.

Sid is UNICEF Innovation Fund Alumni, Gavi Infuse participant and World Economic Forum Global Innovator.