Because Moderna’s vaccine relies in part on technology developed by the National Institutes of Health and because the company received $2.5 billion from the federal government as part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s fast-track vaccine initiative, global health advocates believe the company has a special obligation to share its technology.
An email message from Colleen Hussey, a Moderna spokesperson, stated the firm had agreed not to pursue its Covid-related patents and was “ready to licence our intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines to others during the post-pandemic period,” according to the message.
However, supporters argue that the world needs Moderna’s expertise now, rather than after the epidemic is gone.
The distribution of the vaccine “recipe” is a critical first step, but it is not sufficient in and of itself to enable the rapid and efficient establishment of new mRNA manufacturing facilities, according to Alain alSalhani, a vaccines expert with the access to medicines campaign of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
As a result of the newness of the technology, he said, you will need someone to walk you through the whole procedure. The fact that there is a scarcity of academic knowledge on the subject of industrial-scale manufacturing of mRNA vaccines is one of the challenges we are experiencing. As a result, it is not just about a recipe, but also about an active and full transfer of technology.”
An email from Pfizer stated that the company and its partner, BioNTech, had signed a letter of intent with the South African biopharmaceutical company Biovac, which is part of the South African hub, to manufacture Pfizer’s vaccine for African nations, which was announced last month. Biovac is part of the South African hub. Biovac is a member of the South African distribution network. In addition, Biovac will not need the vaccine to be packaged and will not require the vaccine formula to be shared with others. In Europe, it is anticipated that the actual “drug substance” will be produced.
When companies refuse to cooperate voluntarily, some legal experts and global health advocates believe the Biden administration may attempt to force them to share their intellectual property by using the powers granted by the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law that grants the president broad authority over American corporations in times of national emergency.