University Communications

  • A man opening a freezer

Freezers on loan

COSE helps with COVID-19 vaccine implementation in Central Minnesota

Two of the College of Science and Engineering’s -80 Centigrade (-112 Fahrenheit) freezers are helping CentraCare Health clinics prepare for the COVID-19 vaccines.

The university lent two of its freezers to CentraCare to help with storage of the Pfizer vaccine, an mRNA vaccine that needs to be kept ultra cold to remain stable.

At St. Cloud State the freezers are used in the lab to store RNA and DNA samples for many laboratory uses, said Michael Shiferaw, a Biological Sciences graduate student.

Many professors, graduate students and undergraduate students work on different research projects and store their samples in the freezers, so they can use them for later experiments.

“DNA and RNA need to be fairly stable and -80 centigrade is the right temperature to do that,” he said. “The Pfizer vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine, requires an ultra cold environment for it to be in a stable condition when it’s administered.”

A regular household freezer is usually about -18 to -20 Celsius.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce a protein that triggers the immune system to respond.