New Patent-Free COVID Vaccine Developed As ‘Gift To the World’

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: A new COVID-19 vaccine, developed by researchers from the Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, is being offered patent-free to vaccine manufacturers across the world. Human trials have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective, with India already authorizing its use as production ramps up to over 100 million doses per month. The vaccine has been named Corbevax and it is based on a traditional protein-based technology that has been safely used for decades. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, Corbevax focuses on the coronavirus spike protein, but instead of using mRNA to direct our cells to produce those spike proteins internally it delivers lab-grown spike proteins to the body. The researchers took the gene that codes for the spike protein and engineered yeast to produce it. These proteins are collected, purified, and combined with an adjuvant to enhance immune responses. This exact method has been used to produce the hepatitis B vaccine for years. In late 2020 the US research team developing the vaccine joined forces with India-based pharma company Biological E to begin clinical trials and establish manufacturing capacity. Across 2021 those clinical trials included several thousand participants and ultimately found Corbevax to be safe and effective at generating robust immune responses to SARS-CoV-2. The trial data was compared to an already approved vaccine called Covishield (the Indian-made version of Astrazeneca's well-known COVID-19 vaccine). Corbevax generated significantly fewer adverse effects than Covishield and produced superior immune responses. Neutralizing antibody responses to Corbevax indicate the vaccine should be at least 80 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the Delta variant. Specific data against the Omicron variant is expected soon but it is hypothesized to be at least as effective as most currently available vaccines. Perhaps the most important feature of this new vaccine is the fact it has been developed as a patent-free product that can be easily manufactured by vaccine-producers around the world. The project has been described as "gift to the world" by researcher Peter Hotez. "India is the first country to issue emergency authorization to Corbevax and Biological E reportedly has 150 million doses ready to go, with production capacity set for 100 million doses per month from February," reports New Atlas.

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