On Tuesday, U.S. Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher nominated Maria Elena Bottazzi and Peter Hotez for the Nobel Peace Prize for the development of Corbevax, a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine over which its developers claim no intellectual property rights.
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Botazzi is a microbiologist and bioengineer who graduated from the Honduran Autonomous National University (UNAH). She and Hotez led the team that designed Corbevax at the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.
"We are proud of the nomination of Maria Elena Bottazzi for the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a recognition of her extraordinary work in health and contribution to humanity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic," the UNAH rector tweeted.
Her work centers on developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases and emerging infectious diseases. Previously, in 2016, Botazzi also developed a SARS-CoV vaccine, which did not receive funding to enter clinical trials. With the offset of the pandemic, however, her team secured the funding to develop Corbevax.
"Corbevax is licensed patent-free to Biological E. (BioE), India’s largest vaccine maker, which plans to manufacture at least 100 million doses per month starting in February 2022," outlet The Conversation recalled.
"This patent-free arrangement means that other low- and middle-income countries can produce and distribute this cheap, stable and relatively easy-to-scale vaccine locally," it added.
On Tuesday, Hondura's President Xiomara Castro proudly congratulated Botazzi for her scientific achievement, and said this was "the moment" for her country's women.