Texas Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi Awarded The Vilcek-Gold Award For Humanism In Healthcare


Dr. Bottazzi was recognized for her research and development of an open-source, patent-free COVID-19 vaccine technology

HOUSTON, TX – (June 6, 2023) Texas Children’s Hospital is pleased to announce that Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Co-Director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and Senior Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, received The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare for her work developing open-source, patent-free COVID-19 vaccine technology. The prestigious award, created jointly by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and The Vilcek Foundation in 2019, recognizes a foreign-born individual who has had an extraordinary impact on humanism in healthcare through their professional achievements in the United States. 

“It was a very emotional moment to learn that as a Honduran-trained biomedical scientist, I was the recipient of the Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare. I am very proud of this recognition, it encourages and empowers me even more to continue advocating for equity in global health,” Dr. Bottazzi said.

Dr. Bottazzi, her lab partner of two decades, Dr. Peter Hotez, and their team at Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine researched and developed a patent-free, open-source vaccine technology to combat COVID-19. The vaccine technology uses a traditional recombinant protein-based technology that enables its production at large scales, making it widely accessible to inoculate the global population through local manufacturers. In India, the vaccines are produced under the name Corbevax by Biological E. Limited, and in Indonesia, manufacturer PT Bio Farma is producing the vaccines under the name IndoVac, with millions of doses administered between the two countries.  

Earlier this year, Drs. Bottazzi and Hotez received the 2023 Lyndon B. Johnson Moral Courage Award from the Houston Holocaust Museum for her vaccine technology work In 2022, they received a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination for their vaccine development work and received Fast Company’s 2022 Most Creative People in Business’ Award. Dr. Bottazzi has led numerous community events to educate Latinos about COVID-19 vaccine development and served on multiple local and national task forces. Dr. Bottazzi was recently named one of Forbes and Bloomberg’s most influential people in Central and Latin America, respectively, and served as a panelist at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in 2022 where she discussed the importance of global vaccine equality.

“Dr. Bottazzi’s unwavering commitment to helping those who are most vulnerable, ensuring that everyone has access to life-saving vaccines, is incredibly inspiring and will hopefully encourage others to follow suit. She is richly deserving of the Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare, and I know this recognition will inspire many young women and immigrants to realize the full potential of what they can accomplish in this country,” said Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Director of The Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, a Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a nonprofit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO for children; has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country, Texas Children’s Pediatrics; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine.