Corbevax vaccine against Covid: what the FDA says, how safe it is and how effective it is

Los doctores Peter Jay Hotez y María Elena Bottazzi, creadores de Corbevax.

Doctors Peter Jay Hotez and María Elena Bottazzi, creators of Corbevax.

Photo: Max Trautner/Texas Children’s Hospital/EFE

since it started the Covid pandemic we have seen how a race was launched at the same time in the pharmaceutical world, in particular in the field of vaccines, with the intention of finding, as soon as possible, that immunization with which the advance of the virus could be stopped and, above all, trying to protect the population of the whole world.

It is undeniable that various pharmaceutical companies managed to create effective vaccines against the Coronavirus in record time; however, it is also a reality that, unfortunately, these are not in the hands of everyone, particularly those who live in economically disadvantaged nations or regions.

This worries a sector of the scientific community that, far from seeking economic benefit, seeks to ensure that more and more people have access to vaccination. That is the case of a Honduran scientist named María Elena Botazzi, who is co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, United States, who together with Dr. Peter Hotez created Corbevax, a patent-free vaccine, which was granted emergency use authorization in India in December last year.

Bottazzi and his team are interested in producing the vaccine in countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Botswana. Additionally, it seeks to distribute and produce the vaccine throughout Central America. “Anyone can replicate it, anyone can work with us”, says Bottazzi.

With this initiative, the Honduran doctor hopes that change the paradigms of production and distribution of vaccines. This arose due to clashes between pharmaceutical companies that defend the intellectual property of their vaccines, while, on the other hand, there are those who seek mass production of vaccines so that they reach the poorest countries.

The efficacy of Corbevax against Covid

Baylor College Hospital, where Bottazzi and Hotez work, joined forces with the Indian laboratory Biological E. to share information with them and to carry out the necessary studies to verify the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

According to a Phase III study among 3,000 volunteers, Corbevax was 90% effective in preventing disease caused by the original version of SARS-CoV-2, and 80% effective for the delta variant. And regarding the Ómicron variant, Bottazzi says that they are doing tests and waiting for the validation of the results.

The researcher maintains that the data from the studies have not yet been published because it takes time to process them and make them available to the public, and both they and Biological E. are small teams compared to large multinationals.

The vaccine Corbevax was developed using a traditional technology called recombinant protein, which has been tested and its effectiveness has been verified for several decades now, since that is how other important ones were developed, like hepatitis B.

Its operation is based on using enough proteins from a virus to arouse an immune response, but not the disease. What’s more, requires a simpler and cheaper production process than other types of vaccines, such as messenger RNA produced by Pfizer or Moderna.

Bottazzi and Hotez had been working on a vaccine since the early 2000s, when the MERS and SARS epidemics emerged, which are also coronaviruses. As these viruses did not lead to a pandemic, interest in these vaccines was lost, but before the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, Bottazzi and Hotez resumed their work, taking advantage of the path they had already advanced.

Bottazzi is confident that his work will help change the model for the production and distribution of vaccines worldwide.

This is what the FDA says about the Corbevax vaccine

Until now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not endorsed the results of such research regarding the effectiveness of Corbevax; however, they do not disqualify them either, since they recognize the work of scientists to develop vaccines quickly and that have proven to be highly effective.

Due to this situation, although Corbevax was originally intended to be distributed in poorer countries, it is not ruled out that in this same 2022 it may receive the approval of this body.

It may interest you:

* Moderna is working on the development of a joint vaccine against influenza and COVID, it would be ready in 2023
* COVID: why Ómicron is having a more serious effect in the US than in Europe and South Africa
* “I was anti-vaccine and now I regret it”: the harsh testimony of Indira Jáuregui, a Peruvian who survived the coronavirus


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