Biden urges U.S. vaccine manufacturers to share technology


Many scientists and activists who persuaded Joe Biden to support the abandonment of intellectual property rights for the Covid vaccine are urging the President of the United States to go further and forcing vaccine manufacturers to hand over their technology.

Scientists and progressives praised the Biden administration’s decision last week to support the termination of the company’s right to implement IP protection for the Covid vaccine. But they said that if the government wants to end the pandemic within the next 12 months, it must persuade or force companies to share their expertise with potential competitors in developing countries.

“Exemption is a big step, but technology transfer still needs a next step.” Public Citizen researcher Zain Rizvi said. PublicCitizen is one of the groups leading the movement and supports vaccine IP exemptions. “The president needs to deploy all the authority and power of his office to achieve this goal.”

Asia Russell, Executive Director of Health Gap, one of the global health organizations consulted by the Biden government in its decision to waive the intellectual property exemption, said: “We will not do this by asking drugmakers well. We. Companies must be forced to share their technology, and we must authorize it.”

World Health Organization last year Set up a fund Known as Covax, rich countries buy vaccine doses based on the country’s funding for poorer countries. However, vaccine doses are limited in the world, and many rich countries have paid billions of dollars to help their development and get the supply as soon as possible.

Since the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines were approved in the second half of last year, production in wealthier countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States has increased rapidly, but Lagging behind the poor. Although the United States has fully vaccinated 36% of the population, India has been hit by the latest wave of infections, so only 2.8% have been vaccinated.

Scientists say that this gap not only brings ethical problems, but also causes public health problems. If the virus is allowed to mutate in unvaccinated areas of the world and become a vaccine resistant vaccine, then it will spread to other places. .

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced last week that the Biden government will support the World Trade Organization (WTO) to abandon patent rights to the Covid vaccine, hoping that this will enable manufacturers in developing countries to make their own Copy of the vaccine.

But many experts say that even if the WTO’s exemption proposal receives the necessary support from every member, the output will not grow fast enough. Instead, they want the company to hand over instructions on how to make the vaccine to other companies around the world, even if this will eventually erode their own revenue.

They say that the use of mRNA vaccines (such as those produced by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna) is especially important because they can be modified more quickly to deal with potential emerging variants.

Amy Kapuczynski, co-director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale Law School, said: “We must vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible. Many manufacturers can maintain production in the medium to long term without transferring technology. But to do this in the short term, technology transfer is essential.”

Biden said last month: “I think we will be able to share vaccines and expertise with other countries that really need it.”

But since then, no deals have been announced between US vaccine manufacturers and foreign manufacturers, leading some people to call on the government to take more aggressive action.

In criticizing the White House’s patent decision, Steve Ubl, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Industry Association, warned last week that there are “hands over of American innovation to countries that want to undermine our leading position in biomedical discovery. Risk” risk.

One possibility is that the president can exercise his power under the president’s rule. National Defense Production Law during the Korean War Seize the company’s technology on behalf of the government and share it with other countries.

The other is that the government can use its own patents to force vaccine manufacturers to do something. In particular, Moderna used a patent in its vaccine without a license from the National Institutes of Health, which invented the technology.

Barney Graham, one of the scientists of the National Institutes of Health, Tell the British “Financial Times” Last month, it “leveraged” the company with the government to increase global supply.

Alternatively, the government could set up an organization to act as a third-party broker negotiating technology transfer transactions on behalf of US manufacturers.

The Clinton Foundation plays this role in HIV drugs and says it has helped reduce costs by 100 times in some parts of the world. The World Health Organization has launched a Covid-19 patent pool for companies to share their IP. Experts say this can also prove to be a global technology broker if needed.

The White House did not comment, although government officials said they would focus on increasing supplies and exports from the United States, rather than helping build manufacturing abroad.

However, many people worry that such a policy will make prices too high and will not provide the speed needed to vaccinate the world before more worrying variants emerge.

Matthew Kavanagh, Assistant Professor of Global Hygiene at Georgetown University, said: “This has happened before, so there is no reason it will never happen again. The company needs to say to the government: “This is our technology, you will Find someone who needs to do this. “


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