New Patent-Free COVID-19 Vaccine Developed in Texas

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  • 08/19/2022

A new patent-free COVID-19 vaccine is being offered to vaccine manufacturers across the world thanks to researchers from the Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. 

The vaccine, called Corbevax, is based on traditional protein-based technology that has been used safely for decades, according to New Atlas. Similar to the other available COVID-19 vaccines, this one focuses on coronavirus spike protein, but instead of using mRNA to direct our cells to produce those spike proteins, it delivers lab-grown spike proteins to the body. 

Researchers took the gene that codes for the spike protein and engineered yeast to produce it. The proteins are collected, purified and combined with an adjuvant to enhance immune responses. 

“Protein-based vaccines have been widely used to prevent many other diseases, have proven safety records, and use economies of scale to achieve low-cost scalability across the world,” Maria Elena Bottazzi, one of the project’s lead researchers, said.

In late 2020, the team developing the vaccine teamed up with India-based Biological E to begin clinical trials and establish manufacturing capacity. Those trials, in 2021, included thousands of participants and found the vaccine to be safe and effective. 

Antibody responses to Corbevax indicate the vaccine should be at least 80 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the delta variant. Data corresponding to the omicron variant is expected soon. 

The vaccine has been developed as a patent-free product that can easily be manufactured around the world. One of the researchers leading the project, Peter Hotez, described it as a “gift to the world.” 

“This announcement is an important first step in vaccinating the world and halting the pandemic,” Hotez said. “Our vaccine technology offers a path to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis, namely the vulnerability the low - and middle-income countries face against the delta variant.” 

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