mRNA technology-free Covid vaccine rolled out in the US

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mRNA technology-free Covid vaccine rolled out in the US
mRNA technology-free Covid vaccine rolled out in the US. Credit: Twitter

An mRNA technology-free Covid vaccine has been rolled out in the US.

TEXAS based vaccine developers in the US have rolled out an mRNA technology-free Covid jab which is also patent-free, meaning it can be produced by any manufacturer in any country. The Texas scientists say not-for-profit vaccines will help defeat COVID-19 quicker.

Corbevax, which is based on traditional protein-based technology, was developed by the Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine and has successfully passed human trials as safe and effective.

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“We, about 10 years ago, started making coronavirus vaccines and the irony is that all of our processes are used with that in mind,” explained Professor Peter Hotez, M.D. Baylor College of Medicine.

“We build in low-cost processes from the beginning because our health economist that we’ve collaborated with have always said if you don’t make it for under a few dollars a dose, you might as well not make it at all. So that’s all we know how to do, is make low-cost vaccines,” he said.

India has already authorised the production of 100 million doses per month of the new vaccine, which like other COVID-19 vaccines, 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.


“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,” says Maria Elena Bottazzi, one of the lead researchers on the project.

“Corbevax is a game-changer,” says Dr Keith Martin, executive director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health in Washington, D.C. “It’s going to enable countries around the world, particularly low-income countries, to be able to produce these vaccines and distribute them in a way that’s going to be affordable, effective and safe.”

Highlighting the fact that Pfizer and Moderna have not shared what goes into their vaccines, Dr Martin continued: “The real beauty of the vaccine that Drs. Hotez and Bottazzi created is that intellectual property of this vaccine will be available to everybody.


“So you can get manufacturers in Senegal, and South Africa and Latin America to be able to produce this particular vaccine.”

Neutralising antibody responses to Corbevax indicate the vaccine should be at least 80 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the Delta variant and according to the scientists, it will be as effective as other vaccines against Omicron.

One drawback to the Corbevax technology is that it can’t be modified as quickly as mRNA vaccines can to adjust to new variants.

The announcement was well-received on social media with one user on Twitter writing: “This is actually pretty cool. It’s built on the same technology as the HepB vaccine, very scalable, and should be easily deployed in the poor and underserved countries to stop the spread of variants. Science is rad.”


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