Thursday, July 18, 2024

Latina Scientist Who Co-Created a New COVID-19 Vaccine is Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

María Elena Bottazzi’s doesn’t forget where she comes from,Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Her face softens as she remembers Honduras as if she had left yesterday.

During an interview with Noticias Telemundo, she said, “it never crossed my mind to look for a job at a multinational [company]. I am Central American and doing nonprofit projects is my way of giving back a little of what Honduras has given me.”

María Elena Bottazzi, a microbiologist, along with Dr. Peter Hotez, led the team from Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development to create the Corbevax vaccine for Covid-19, a patent drug that has received emergency authorization for usage in India.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bottazzi and her team established the idea to use the knowledge they had refined during decades of research to develop a drug that would be “free for everyone.”

Last week, Bottazzi received a call from Representative Lizzie Fletcher, which turned out to be one of the great surprises of her life. She was informed by Fletcher that she had nominated Bottazzi and Hotez for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Botazzi, speaking with emotion said, “the truth is that I was shocked, speechless. But we are very excited and grateful, because the simple fact that they have thought of us means that we are already winners.”

After being asked the meaning of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Bottazzi answered that “it means that with dedication and passion, and always maintaining our convictions, much can be achieved. We can help solve many global problems that we have around the world, especially inequity in health systems.”