Two health care centers in Texas – Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital – are one more step towards the deployment of what they call the “people’s vaccine” for COVID-19.
The two Houston-based institutions, along with Indian vaccine and pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd., have obtained approval to move forward this month with Phase III clinical trials in India of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate called Corbevax. The Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development developed the vaccine protein antigen, which was licensed by the BCM Ventures marketing arm of Baylor College of Medicine.
Unlike COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, Corbevax contains the so-called “spike protein” from the surface of the novel coronavirus. Once this protein is injected via a vaccine, the body is supposed to begin to develop immunity to the protein and thus prevent serious illness.
Experts envision Corbevax as a readily available weapon in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the straightforward vaccine platform (like the one used to prevent hepatitis B) and the ability to store the vaccine in normal refrigerated environments. The targets of this vaccine are children and mothers.
“Amid the public health crisis in India, we hope that our Texas Children’s and Baylor COVID-19 vaccine can be released for emergency clearance in India and all countries in need of essential COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, said in a June 9 press release.
India has reported more than 29 million cases of COVID-19, causing 354,000 deaths. The country’s COVID-19 outbreak peaked in May.