Coronavirus: Researchers say possible vaccine tucked away in freezer needs testing

HOUSTON, Texas (KABC) -- Researchers say a vaccine for the Coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, might be tucked away inside a freezer in a Texas medical center.

"This could be the answer. I think, what we would like, is to have someone give us the opportunity to test if it is the answer. If it stays in the freezer, we will never know if it was the answer," said Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi of the National School of Tropical Medicine.

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Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston worked on the vaccine for years, following the SARS outbreak in the early 2000's.

They did the painstaking work inside the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital.

In 2016, the money ran out and they ended up storing the vaccine in the freezer.

"It's half-baked. It's basically sitting in the freezer because we never had the opportunity of moving it to toxicology or human testing," said Dr. Bottazzi, who is the center's co-director.

Dr. Bottazzi says with the right funding, they could test the vaccine to see if it is effective against COVID-19.

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"With $3 million we can do a very nice accelerated study to show that the vaccine that we have in our freezer, it is safe and that we can use it rapidly in a human population," she said.

Doctors at the center say they're optimistic that a philanthropist might decide to help re-start the vaccine project.
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