Scientists in Texas had developed a vaccine to protect against a deadly strain of coronavirus four years ago, but were forced to stop work on it because they did not have enough money to test it on humans, NBC News is reporting.
The vaccine was developed in 2016, more than a decade after the viral disease SARS had killed more than 770 people in China. The disease was an earlier coronavirus similar to the one now impacting the globe.
"We tried like heck to see if we could get investors or grants to move this into the clinic," said Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital. "But we just could not generate much interest."
The SARS vaccine, created in collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, now sits in a freezer.
"We could have had this ready to go and been testing the vaccine's efficacy at the start of this new outbreak in China," said Hotez, who is convinced the vaccine could provide cross-protection against the new coronavirus. "There is a problem with the ecosystem in vaccine development, and we've got to fix this."
Hotez is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Thursday.
"It's tragic that we won't have a vaccine ready for this epidemic," Hotez said. "Practically speaking, we'll be fighting these outbreaks with one hand tied behind our backs."
And he told the Houston Chronicle: "In some ways this virus is tougher than Ebola. Unless you were taking care of someone dying of Ebola or who'd died of it, you pretty much weren't going to get Ebola."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.