For months now we have all heard that Covid 19 will only be tamed if enough people worldwide receive vaccinations. The trouble with that idea has been a lack of sufficient vaccines being distributed in areas of the world like South America, India and Africa where storing and distribution of the mRNA vaccines is often too complex. While those of us in the United States and Europe were arguing over who was willing to accept vaccines, much of the rest of the world was sadly lacking in meaningful efforts to get more people vaccinated against the virus. Now all of that is in the process of changing thanks to the work of two dedicated doctors who reside right here in my city of Houston.
Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Botazzi, co-directors of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, have created a safe and easily produced and distributed new vaccine for Covid 19 called CORBEVAX that is already approved for emergency use in India with other underserved countries to follow. The “no strings attached”vaccine will be sent with no patent restrictions or costs. Donors are already lining up to fund the global project whose aim is to bring the jab to as many corners of the world as possible.
The vaccine has been produced using safe and long used protein technology which is less expensive to create than many of the current vaccines. CORBEVAX is also easy to store, not requiring refrigeration which might hamper bringing it to isolated communities. It was specifically designed by Drs. Hotez and Botazzi for use in middle to low income countries in a humanitarian effort to stem the tide of Covid for all populations.
Dr. Hotez has been one of the many faces of medical academia to emerge during the current pandemic but his work on providing vaccines for tropical diseases and other threats around the world has long been recognized as important in stemming the tide of many illnesses. Sadly the politicization of vaccines and diverging opinions about Covid have sometimes resulted in attacks on the motivation and honesty of Dr. Hotez and others from the medical community. He has been dubbed by some as “Dr Doom” because of his insistence that we will never fully conquer Covid without vaccinating most of the world’s people, not just those in the richest and most developed countries. From the outset his goal has been to educate everyone about the efficacy and importance of global vaccination efforts.
Now it appears that Dr. Hotez’ dream of finding a vaccine that will be easy to create and distribute to all corners of the world has come to fruition. It is an exciting prospect to realize that the incredible work of Dr. Hotez and Dr. Botazzi will soon make vaccines a reality for people all over the globe. What is even more remarkable is that neither doctor will profit from the vaccine beyond their usual salaries from Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine where both are doctors, researchers and professors.
I feel a great sense of pride in knowing that I live in a city that is home to such a great institution as Texas Children’s Hospital. Even better is realizing how many truly inspiring and dedicated individuals are toiling daily to keep our children and their parents healthy. We too often forget the importance of what is happening in the heart of the Medical Center that brings people from all over the world in hopes of finding treatments and cures for their illnesses. Now we also learn that we have two pioneers in the world of virology and immunology working feverishly in our midst for the good of all of humankind. There is something incredibly comforting in knowing that.
I’ve been following Dr. Hotez on televised interviews and on Twitter for many months now. I have followed his advice regarding my own behavior during this time of pandemic. I have read his latest book and realized how the global impact of disease links all of us together whether we wish to acknowledge this basic truth or not. We can no longer isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. A sneeze in Africa more often than not eventually affects us all and vice versa.
I congratulate and humbly thank Dr. Hotez and Dr. Botazzi for their brilliance and diligence in working day in and day out to produce and distribute safe vaccines for many different diseases. While we babble on and on about the efficacy of taking advantage of the miracles of vaccines they are dedicating their lives to keeping all of humanity safer from the many diseases and viruses that threaten us, while taking insults and threats on the chin. They are unmitigated heroes in our midst.
If you are the praying kind of person you may want to thank God for these two remarkable doctors and ask Him to keep them safe while they continue their work. After all, I believe that they are doing the Lord’s work. They and others like them are the miracles that we need.