New Covid vaccine by Texas scientists is cheaper, patent-free

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) A new Covid-19 vaccine is being developed by Texas scientists using a decades-old conventional method that will make the production and distribution cheaper and more accessible for countries most affected by the pandemic and where new variants are likely to originate due to low inoculation rates, The Guardian reported.

The team, led by Drs Peter Hotez and Maria Bottazzi from the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine, has been developing vaccine prototypes for Sars and Mers since 2011, which they reconstructed to create the new Covid vaccine, dubbed Corbevax, or “the world’s Covid-19 vaccine”, the report said.

Although more than 60 other vaccines are in development using the same technology, Bottazzi said their vaccine is unique because they do not intend to patent it, allowing anyone with the capacity to reproduce it, The Guardian reported.

“Pretty much anybody that can make hepatitis B vaccines or has the capacity to produce microbial-based protein like bacteria or yeast, can replicate what we do,” Bottazzi said. Corbevax’s clinical trial data has yet to be released due to resource constraints, but Texas Children’s hospital said the vaccine was over 90 per cent effective against the original Covid-19 strain and over 80 per cent effective against the Delta variant. The vaccine’s efficacy against the Omicron variant is currently being tested, the report added.

The process to create the vaccine involves the use of yeast — the same method by which hepatitis B vaccines are produced.

Biological E, an Indian pharmaceutical company accustomed to producing hepatitis B vaccines with whom Bottazzi’s team has a longstanding relationship, has already produced 150m doses of the new Corbevax vaccine and will soon be able to produce 100m doses every month, The Guardian reported.



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