HOUSTON - The coronavirus outbreak has scientists all over the world scrambling for a cure. One lab here in Houston believes they have a potential vaccine and are working round the clock to push it through.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine say that they are one step closer because they, along with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, have already manufactured a vaccine against the deadly SARS virus, but funding was cut when SARS cases started to decrease. The vaccine has sat in a freezer at their lab ever since.
Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi with Baylor College of Medicine tells Fox 26, “This vaccine was developed for SARS back in 2003. The good news is that the current coronavirus that is causing this outbreak right now is very similar to the one that was circulating in 2003. It’s almost 80% identical.“
Dozens of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine have been hard at work when they realized the vaccine could potentially be the cure to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s a tedious three-step process before the vaccine can hit the market. But for these scientists, step one has already been completed. After that testing on an animal subject.
“Before you actually can inject into a person you first have to still do what we call a toxicology study, which is a safety study in a suitable model, nonhuman to confirm that indeed it is a safe product,” says Bottazzi.
The vaccine has the ability to block the virus receptors from entering the cell. Besides curing the coronavirus, the scientists also have to make sure that they can diagnose and prevent the virus from happening, this is something Bottazzi is very confident they can accomplish. “We are way ahead of the curve, right, we already have something here in Houston, in a freezer, that can be rapidly deployed and support all the population that that currently are being impacted by this coronavirus outbreak.”
Baylor College of Medicine is working on funding with multiple agencies for this project. If all goes well we could see this vaccine on the market in about 1 1/2 -2 years.