Texas Children's and Baylor Lure Vaccine Team to Houston

Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have persuaded a renowned expert in tropical diseases to move his vaccine development laboratory from Washington D.C. to Houston. Kuhf Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel has more.

Dr. Peter Hotez will bring at least 20 researchers with him to Houston. Hotez is the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a non-profit that creates affordable vaccines for poor countries.

“Now this is all going to be moving to the laboratories of Texas children’s hospital where we’ll set up what looks for all the world like a pharmaceutical company but we’re making vaccines for people who can’t forward to pay for it.”

The Sabin Institute will stay in Washington, and Hotez will still be president.

But the Institute’s development branch, which works on inventing new vaccines, will move to the Texas Medical Center.

The team is currently working on a vaccine for hookworm and one for schistosomiasis, a blood parasite.

Dr. Mark Kline, the chief of pediatrics at Baylor, says doctors are realizing that so-called tropical diseases are not just a foreign problem.

“Chagas disease is a parasitic infection of the heart that is prevalent in some parts of Latin American, but it’s estimated that there may be 300,000 people right here in the state of texas that are suffering from Chagas disease.”        

Dr. Hotez will also found a new school for tropical medicine at Baylor. The school will eventually offer a master’s degree in tropical medicine, the first such degree program available in the U.S. 

From the KUHF Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...