Nusco’s Role in Combating COVID-19

A view of downtown Nusco (AV), where freezers for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are presently being produced by DESMON.

Situated between the Ofanto and Calore Rivers, the Lombards built a castle in Nusco to defend the valley from invaders. Now, Nusco is helping defend the world from an invader of another kind.

DESMON SpA is a manufacturer of professional refrigeration equipment. According to its website, DESMON was founded in 1994 as a company for the marketing of catering equipment. Since 2015, DESMON has been a part of the Middleby Corporation, a world leader in the food service equipment sector. All 100 percent of refrigerated equipment produced by DESMON is made right at the company’s headquarters in Nusco.

According to a recent article by Agenzia Italia, Pluris, DESMON’s largest distributor in Italy, is distributing these ultra compact freezers for Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations.

DESMON has been working for more than a month on this project, which will keep the COVID-19 vaccine that Pfizer is currently developing at the required temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit). These freezers are designed to hold up to 5,000 doses of the vaccine and are intended not only for pharmaceutical companies, but also for hospitals, healthcare companies, research institutes, and pharmacies. The company still needs to procure necessary certifications for marketing of these freezers.

“Our products are present, in public health facilities throughout Italy,” Luigi De Santis, chief executive officer of Pluris is quoted by Agenzia Italia. “Even in recent months, in full COVID emergency, our large freezers have been delivered to laboratories in the hospitals of Campania, Puglia, and Calabria. Now, we are working to make available ultra freezers of various sizes, which can be used to store vaccines.”

A recent NPR article, explained why the COVID-19 vaccines need to be kept so cold. Basically, the Pfizer vaccine, as well as other vaccine candidates, use a new approach to unlock the body’s immune defenses that helps turn a patient’s cells into factories that make a particular coronavirus protein. This protein kicks off an immune response as if there was a real coronavirus infection, meaning that someone who is immunized will be able to fight off COVID-19 if he or she is exposed to it. This vaccine technology is so new that no vaccine of its kind has ever been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. The extreme cold temperatures help the vaccines keep their functionality.

And in the case of Pfizer’s vaccine, Nusco-based DESMON is on the forefront of keeping these vaccines cold enough to help save as many lives as possible.

Ultra-compact freezers capable of storing Pfizer’s proposed COVID-19 vaccine on the floor of Nusco-based DESMON shortly after manufacturing.

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