Texas Hospital Researchers Develop New COVID Vaccine
It's called CORBEVAX, and its story began more than twenty years ago when Doctors Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi, now with Baylor College of Medicine at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, were medical researchers working on vaccines and treatments for a variety of tropical diseases.
20 Year Old Research Leads to a New Vaccine
One thing led to another, and by the early 2000s the pair were researching the original SARS virus. Then, with the outbreak of COVID 19 almost twenty years later, the two researchers resurrected their old findings and applied them to a new illness.
Unfortunately, no one from the US government was interested. But through millions and millions in philanthropic funding, including Tito's Vodka and MD Anderson Cancer Center, came the "protein sub-unit" vaccine, CORBEVAX.
How is CORBEVAX Different from the Others?
And how does CORBEVAX differ from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines? From NPR: "...unlike the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and the viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, protein subunit vaccines like CORBEVAX have a track record. So (the researchers) were relatively certain CORBEVAX would be safe and effective."
And perhaps best of all, it's cheap, about $1.50 a dose.
The Vaccine We've Never Head of is Already Saving Lives
More from NPR: "Clinical trials...conducted in India involving 3,000 volunteers found the vaccine to be 90% effective in preventing disease cause by the original COVID-19 virus strain and 80% against the delta variant. It's still being tested against omicron."
And distribution of CORBEVAX is already underway. In December the vaccine received emergency authorization for use in in India, and it is currently being produced by a major Indian pharma manufacturer. The company is producing 100 million doses a month with plans to make hundreds of millions more.
And Hotez and Botazzi say the "recipe" for their vaccine will be made public, so it can be easily reproduced around the world. As a result, it is already being hailed in some quarters as "the world's COVID 19 vaccine."