Houston is living up to its reputation as the medical capital of the world.
Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine have helped to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine that's been approved for emergency authorization in Indonesia.
The two Houston-based doctors who helped develop the vaccine, Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, are garnering international attention.
"This is just groundbreaking work. It's very important for us. We always look for technology that can be culturally appropriate,” said Bottazzi.
Their team made the prototype for the “Indo-Vac” vaccine, allowing BioFarma, an Indonesia pharmaceutical company, to scale it up and make it their own.
The company is expected to produce 20 million doses this year.
"This will build a lot of trust and confidence from the Muslim world,” said Bottazzi.
Hotez says the Indo-Vac is in the final stages of receiving a special certification that will make it acceptable within Islamic law.
“It's a vegan technology, so no animal cells, no human cells, no animal protein, no human protein. It's not a big leap, we think we will get that halal certification," he said.
Last December, similar technology from Texas Children’s was used for another COVID vaccine that was used in India.
The groundbreaking technology has landed Dr. Hotez and Bottazzi a nomination for a 2022 Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to global vaccine equality.
"For us, it is enough to be nominated and get that recognition, it's just fantastic," said Hotez. "It's evidence that we are making a difference for humanity in terms of science for humanitarian pursuits. This is a dream. Dr. Bottazzi and I have been working for the last 20 years."
The winners of the 2022 noble peace prize will be announced next week.