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Ever since the first COVID-19 vaccines debuted in 2020, the world has been divided between rich countries that can afford to develop or purchase vaccines and poor countries that have generally been forced to accept whatever the rich don’t need (or what big pharmaceutical companies are willing to donate). That started to change in 2021, thanks in large part to Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, the codirectors of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, in Houston. With funding from private donors—including $1 million from the philanthropic arm of Austin-based Tito’s vodka—Hotez and Bottazzi developed a low-cost, open-source vaccine targeted at low- and middle-income countries. By the end of 2022, an estimated 100 million people in India and Indonesia had received…
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