Scientists studying microbes that live in volcanic hot springs have invented a way to preserve viruses that could someday change how vaccines are delivered in poor countries.
Much work remains to be done, but an intriguing study in The Journal of Virology describes how Portland State University scientists prevented several viruses from drying out by coating them with silica, the basic ingredient of glass, just as they are coated in hot springs. Once the silica coats were rinsed off, some of the viruses were able to infect cells again.
Most vaccines are made of weakened virus or viral bits, and many need refrigeration. Keeping them cold is a major challenge when it comes to protecting children living in villages without electricity.