Meet the Texas Doctor Developing a “People’s Vaccine” to Help Inoculate Billions Around the World

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    • #418963
      • Total Posts: 10,190

      DR. PETER HOTEZ: Yeah, and it’s not only just for India. What we need is a simple, easy-to-use, low-cost, some people call it people’s vaccine for the world, because the task is daunting. We have 1.1 billion people in sub-Saharan Africa, roughly 650 million people in Latin America, at least, you know, close to half a billion or more in low-income areas of Asia. So, you multiply that times two, we’re talking about 5 billion doses of vaccine. And the question is: Where do you get 5 billion doses of vaccine? You know, the mRNA technology is extremely exciting, but it’s new. And whether or not you could ever scale it to that in time for this pandemic is really questionable. So, what else can we come up with?

      There’s the adenovirus-vectored vaccines from AstraZeneca and J&J. There’s going to be some issues around vaccine acceptance. Hopefully, that will resolve. But in the meantime, we’re trying to come through with something that uses the same old-school technology as the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine that’s been around for four decades. It’s a microbial fermentation-expressed recombinant protein in yeast, and it looks really good. It’s in Phase — finishing now Phase 2 clinical trials in India, and great protection in nonhuman primates. And now working with Biological E., one of the big private companies, like Serum Institute of India, and they’re based in Hyderabad, they’re now scaling it up to a billion doses. And that’s really exciting. And hopefully it could be released for emergency use authorization by the summer in India.

      But then, what about the rest of the world? Biological E. is committed to, I think, providing about 70% of its vaccines to the COVAX sharing facility. But could we get another group to come along and help us with another 4 billion doses? And it would be great if the U.S. government could have a role in that and help reassert some leadership in global health.

      And when we got the COVID-19 sequence in January, our team, which is just co-headed by myself and Maria Elena Bottazzi — we’ve worked together for 20 years — we turned that around really quickly. And then we couldn’t raise money for it, because everybody was so focused on innovation. It was all about innovation, and they wanted mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines. And I said, “That’s great, but what if you can’t scale it, or what if there’s a safety signal? Don’t you want a simple, low-cost vaccine as a backup?” And we just couldn’t get anybody to move. So I wound up raising money privately from philanthropies here in Texas, like the Kleberg Foundation and Tito’s Vodka, of all places, and the JPB Foundation. They came through. I raised about $4 or $5 million. And then we were able to make that — scale up that vaccine and transfer it to Biological E. I often think, though, if I hadn’t had to spend the first few months of the pandemic going out trying to raise money, we could have maybe had something ready to go right now.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #418972
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      • Total Posts: 6,321

      (Democracy Now!)

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #418986
      • Total Posts: 4,355

      Something that causes their greed to atrophy.

      Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

      If you just got finessed into calling the medicine that won the 2015 Nobel Prize for its role in treating human disease ‘horse de-wormer’ then you need to sit the next couple of plays out.

    • #419010
      • Total Posts: 528

      when they (more than one vaccine) are ready.

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