News and Commentary

Houston Company: We’ve Created Coronavirus Vaccine
Photo by Photo by Kuniharu Wakabayashi/GettyImages

A Houston, Texas, genetic engineering company is claiming it has created a coronavirus vaccine.

John Price, president and CEO of Houston-based Greffex Inc., told the Houston Business Journal that his company finished creating a coronavirus vaccine this week. Greffex eschewed using a living or killed virus in the development of the vaccine, as the Corona virus is still a mystery and highly contagious, and thus using such a virus might endanger people. The Business Journal writes, “Greffex’s treatments use adenovirus-based vector vaccines, which are used to target various kinds of infectious diseases and cancers, according to research published in the peer reviewed journal Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.”

Price told KHOU, “The trick in making a vaccine is can you scale the vaccine that you’ve made to be able to make a certain number of doses, can you test the vaccine quickly and efficiently and then can you get it into patients – and that’s where we have an edge as well on the other companies that are out there.”

The New York Post reported, “If the vaccine wins government approval, Greffex will give it away for free to the hardest-hit countries, Price said.”

Greffex’s website states:

GREFFEX, INC. won a contract of up to $18.9 million with the National Institute of Health’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop and exploit its GreVac(TM) Plug-And-Play Technology to Expedite the Production of Vaccine Candidates for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases to target emerging infectious threats, whether natural or man-made.

GreVac(TM) vaccines are based upon GREFFEX’s proprietary GreGT Genetic Engineering Technology as a fast and flexible plug-and-play vaccine architecture of fully deleted helper virus- independent adenoviral vectors of rare serotypes. The proprietary GreGT platform has been built upon two independently modifiable components to provide broad gene transfer applications.

On Wednesday, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health announced they had created the first 3D atomic scale map of the spike protein, the part of the coronavirus that infects human cells. They wrote, “The atomic-level detail will enable the design and screening of small molecules with fusion-inhibiting potential. This information will support precision vaccine design and discovery of anti-viral therapeutics, accelerating medical countermeasure development.”

Jason McLellan, the lead researcher on the team, asserted, “As soon as we knew this was a coronavirus, we felt we had to jump at it because we could be one of the first ones to get this structure. We knew exactly what mutations to put into this, because we’ve already shown these mutations work for a bunch of other coronaviruses.”

UT News reported, “Next, McLellan’s team plans to use their molecule to pursue another line of attack against the virus that causes COVID-19, using the molecule as a ‘probe’ to isolate naturally produced antibodies from patients who have been infected with the novel coronavirus and successfully recovered. In large enough quantities, these antibodies could help treat a coronavirus infection soon after exposure. For example, the antibodies could protect soldiers or health care workers sent into an area with high infection rates on too short notice for the immunity from a vaccine to take effect.”


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