Texas Plays Big Role in Testing, Producing Vaccine Candidates – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Texas is playing a major role in efforts to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to the public, from manufacturing at College Station to research in Plano.
“We are currently number one in the nation. We have recruited and vaccinated more participants than any of my colleagues at this point,” said Dr. Jeffery Adelglass, on a Phase 3 trial for the COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax of Maryland.
Research Your Health’s medical director says the study is “doing very well”. Two out of three participants who come to see him receive the actual vaccine. The other is just given an ineffective placebo to compare the results.
At 115 locations in the United States and Mexico, 30,000 people will be recruited to test the vaccine’s effectiveness.
“The people on trial are heroes who wage war against an invisible enemy,” Adelglass said.
As research continues at Plano, a biotech manufacturing facility at Texas A&M is also playing a big role in the war against COVID-19.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and the System Center for Innovation in Advanced Development & Manufacturing (CIADM) at Texas A&M University announced that production of two different COVID-19 vaccine candidates has started in Texas with US government support to target the Objectives of Operation Warp Speed to achieve a press release.
The university and its subcontractor are producing the first part of Novavax’s two-part vaccine candidate and another candidate from French pharmaceutical company Sonafi.
A&M does not produce the actual COVID vaccine in vials as we may think. It produces a protein that is mixed with an adjuvant in another place that becomes the vaccine.
“It’s just as complicated to develop the protein that creates the initial immune response as an adjuvant that works well,” said Dr. W. Jay Treat, Chief Manufacturing Officer at Texas A&M CIADM.
Would you like to be put on a waiting list for vaccines?
As the state begins distributing the COVID-19 vaccines to those in Phase 1A and 1B, the county’s health departments created waiting lists for those who would like to be vaccinated.
You can now register to get vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
Waiting list links: Collin | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant
You do not need to be in the county to register for COVID-19 vaccination in that county. Registration is open to anyone in Texas. Tarrant County also accepts registrations by phone at 817-248-6299 for those without Internet access. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS Vaccine Hotline at 469-749-9900. Call Denton County 940-349-2585.
“When you go to a fast food restaurant and get a cold drink from the machine. The cola is in the form of a syrup. That comes from cola, but the carbonated water could come from anyone. So let’s make the syrupy cola, for example, which is our protein. And think of the carbonated water as the made-up adjuvant that is mixed together on site and now fills your cup, “explained Treat as he explained the process.
Texas A&M estimates the work done at its facilities will be around 20 to 40 million doses per month based on current information. However, when it comes to the actual number, “I can’t tell you,” Treat said, citing confidentiality agreements in the $ 265 million contract with the federal government.
While both the Novavax and Sonafi vaccines are weeks or months away from emergency approval, work at Texas A&M is vital to the global fight against the deadly virus.
“Taxpayers have invested in this facility. And as a taxpayer himself, it’s nice to know that the money will go towards products that actually help people,” said Treat.
If Novavax and Sonafi do not get FDA approval for any reason, Treat says the facility can be adapted to manufacture other vaccines.
Treat also adds working at A&M Shows: “You could build facilities in Texas. You don’t have to use the east or west coast, where most of these drugs are made,” he said. “It allows us to diversify our economies into areas where Texas was not really considered a place for such business in the past.”
Texas COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Texas Department of Health data shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been shipped across the state. Click a marker for information about each location. Use the “plus” and “minus” signs below to zoom in and out of the map.