Texas A&M to help lead production of potential coronavirus vaccine

Texas A&M University has been selected to help lead the effort producing mass quantities of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

If it proves successful, a vaccine being developed by a little-known company called Novavax could be manufactured at the university to help get as many doses to the public as possible. But, Novavax has never before produced a vaccine for public use.

The Trump administration awarded the University Systems Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing a $265 million contract to ramp up to mass manufacture a potential vaccine.

“Part of that will go for expansion and capabilities of that particular system, but most will go towards the producing of the vaccine itself,” said John Sharp, Chancellor, Texas A&M University Systems.

Novavax produced one of several vaccine candidates the federal government's identified as promising and sent to clinical trials.

“There are several, at least six or so, going into clinical trials at different times,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases.

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Fauci, during an interview on GoodDay, says the rush to a vaccine is not a compromise in safety because of technological and scientific advances.

“There’s going to be multiple opportunities and what we're hoping for is that there will be more than one successful and safe vaccine so that we can get a lot of doses available for those who need it. Particularly people who are the most vulnerable, who would suffer greatly when they get [the virus],” Fauci said.

If the clinical trials succeed, Novavex plans to deliver 100 million doses for use in the united states by the first quarter of next year, with millions of those doses manufactured at A&M's lab.

“If this vaccine makes it through the clinical trials we'll produce it. If not, then another vaccine will certainly be coming along. But one way or another, we'll produce enough vaccines for the country to finally put an end to this pandemic,” Sharp said.

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