Pressure increases on US companies to share Covid vaccine technology

“We keep hearing, ‘Vaccines are coming, vaccines are coming,’ but three million people have died since the Pfizer vaccine was first cleared by the FDA,” said Zain Rizvi, expert on access to medicines from the public defense organization. Citizen.

Moderna and Pfizer have a vested financial interest in keeping their technology to themselves and maintaining a competitive advantage not only in selling Covid vaccines, which are set to generate more than $ 53 billion in revenue this year, but also other potentially lucrative mRNAs. vaccines under development, such as cancer, HIV and malaria, he said, adding, “They don’t want to pit a future competitor against each other.

The coalition of drugmakers in developing countries drafting an appeal to Mr Biden plans to ask the US government to pressure companies on several things: a license for intellectual property, a license for the technology involved in manufacturing vaccines, provision of items such as cell lines and assistance in acquiring vital but scarce equipment.

In exchange for sharing its process, Moderna would be compensated with a license fee, a percentage of each dose sold.

Even without Moderna’s cooperation, WHO says its technology transfer center in South Africa will strive to replicate the Moderna formula as closely as possible, as a gold standard against which to compare candidates from. other biotech companies then will teach any manufacturer who wishes to make it how to do it on a large scale.

“If we had Moderna or BioNTech with us we could get a vaccine approved in 18 months, but without them we have to go through full development – so it’s 36 months if everything goes perfectly, but it could be longer. Said Dr Friede, who heads the WHO Vaccine Research Initiative.

Pfizer and Moderna are at a crossroads where they can decide what role they want to play in the process, he said. “I have made many successful vaccines; with me I have other people who have succeeded in making vaccines, ”he said. “What we’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to do it. So you can come in and try to keep some control by producing the vaccine locally, or we’ll do it without you. And then you lost control ‘.

Rebecca robbins contributed reports.


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