The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Texas Doctors Develop New Vaccines

Feb 14, 2022

Two doctors affiliated with a non-profit institute in Houston, Texas, and a team of 20 other scientists, developed a new Covid-19 vaccine that promises to make it easier for the governments in poorer, underdeveloped countries to vaccinate their populations. They did so with very little funding from the U.S. government or any of the other wealthy G7 countries, while these same governments gave billions of dollars to pharmaceutical giants like Moderna and Pfizer, which withheld their technologies from governments in the poorer countries. This restricted access to their vaccines to billions of people around the world.

The new vaccine, called Corbevax, is different from the mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer. It actually is produced through an older vaccine technology that has been in use for over 30 years, which was used to create the hepatitis vaccine, for example. To produce Corbevax, the scientists inserted sections of DNA from the Covid-19 virus, that only code for the production of the spike proteins on the new coronavirus, into yeast cells. The yeast cells are then used in fermentation that produces a soup of the Covid-19 spike proteins that, when injected, causes the human body to produce antibodies to the Covid-19 virus.

This fermentation process is easier to set up in poorer countries which lack the infrastructure for the more complicated process needed to produce mRNA vaccines. Also, the protein-based vaccine can be stored with ordinary refrigeration rather than the deep-freeze facilities needed to store the mRNA vaccines. This makes it easier to store in many of the poorer countries that are located in warmer climates. The new vaccine appears in clinical trials to be as safe or safer than the other Covid-19 vaccines.

The scientists who developed the new vaccine have agreed to keep it patent-free and to license it to governments around the world to allow them to manufacture the vaccine and to vaccinate people in their countries more quickly.

The governments of India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Botswana have already begun to set up manufacture of the new vaccine.

The fact that these scientists were able to develop this vaccine on a shoestring budget is a clear demonstration of what could have been done to contain the virus on a world scale. The refusal by the wealthier countries to provide Covid-19 vaccines to the poorer countries is what led to the development of variants like Delta and Omicron now endangering people all over the world.

Their decisions to protect the profits of their pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the world population has allowed a pandemic to rage on that has already caused 325 million people to become infected and 5.5 million people to die.