Honduran scientist María Elena Bottazzi is confident that her vaccine will reach Central America

By Susan Fernández and Israel Pantaleón

Honduran scientist María Elena Bottazzi announced that there is a great possibility that the Corbevax vaccine, so far the only one without a patent, could reach Central America and the rest of the Latin American region.

For the microbiologist, born in Italy, the possibility of this vaccine being marketed in Central America is real because this dose is on a smaller scale, in addition to the fact that there is a production infrastructure.

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Bottazzi maintains that the production of the Corbevax vaccine is less than three dollars per unit. “The intention is that it be the world’s vaccine, where it is not only distributed in India,” says the Honduran scientist.

The initial schedule for Corbevax is two doses with a possible booster, depending on what happens with the pandemic. A study showed that it can neutralize Covid-19 by more than 90% for the original virus and 80% with the Beta and Delta variants. Refering to Omicron variant is still under investigation. In addition, the drug has 50% fewer adverse reactions than the competition.

The also representative of the National School of Tropical Medicine comments that there is collaboration work with global entities to receive authorization and be able to transfer the vaccine to mechanisms such as COVAX or the Revolving Fund of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Likewise, the Honduran scientist points out that bilateral negotiations are being carried out with the countries that most need vaccines, so there are several strategies for its distribution in Latin America.

Nobel Prize thanks to the vaccine

Due to her work, the microbiologist has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to humanity with the low-cost and patent-free Corbevax vaccine against Covid-19.

Follow the information about the economy and the business world in Forbes Central America

Regarding this nomination, Bottazzi says: “It was not only important to make the scientific discovery, but to raise awareness and work on health policies, we are very happy that they recognized us for that, because we want open science and to be able to share it as much as we can.”

Central America and vaccines

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For the Honduran scientist, one of the reasons why vaccines have not been manufactured in Central America is that there is no investment in research and development. “Most of the universities are autonomous, we don’t have that culture of investment in science and technology and we don’t have the philanthropic culture of the private entity”, he exposes.

María Elena points out that they had already been working on vaccines for neglected diseases for ten years, hence they thought of selecting a conventional technology, a technology that could be replicated, creating that capacity was going to be important, keeping costs low and producing on a large scale.

He describes that it was almost like “ring on the finger” that they were able to replicate the vaccines very quickly, that is how they eventually invited producers such as Biological E in India and now in other places such as: in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and in Africa countries.

In India, the agreement was entered into with Biological E for 300 million doses. The company has already manufactured them, currently they began to send the first batches with 50 million doses that were delivered to the government and thus they will be distributed to the different delivery centers.

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