Yesterday a New York Times fell bomb report of patents surrounding Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. After a four-year agreement with the National Institute of Health, Moderna issued a patent against the most important element of its vaccine, and did so with the exception of the names of only its scientists. To the surprise of the NIH, all its scientists were removed from the patent, which could have far-reaching consequences. If a government agency were involved in the filter, then, the US could approve the technology, which would enable it to be released more quickly and efficiently, as well as in developing countries where vaccination rates remain low. If the patent is approved as it was written, this could give Moderna exclusive control over this technology – as well as a multi-billion dollar profit. Many scientists view Moderna’s move as unreliable.
Today on RE: WIRID, our chief secretary Maryn McKenna sat down with the CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, along with Drs. Nahid Bhadelia, MD, MALD, physician worldwide. Bhadelia is the executive director of Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research, and a partner of National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), the BU’s research center.
Bancel of Moderna said he would not comment further on the patent case because it is an open matter, but added that simply making the secret available would not make the vaccine available enough. “No industry in the world is expected to do this,” Bancel said. “Because the industry does not exist. It’s a new kind of stuff.
Commenting on why Moderna is looking at profits, he said, “If you can imagine, to get new delivery items you need a lot of money.” While Moderna received billions of dollars from the US government to support her research as part of Operation Warp Speed, Bancel said the money would not come from developing the technology to develop her new vaccine. Once governments and foundations decided not to invest, the company had to move to larger markets instead of raising about $ 5 billion. He says that in order to encourage people to invest in these types of investments, they often have to believe that there will be economic benefits.
Next to him, Dr. Bhadelia does not think it is a problem. He thinks I am earning enough money to ensure that companies make a profit to continue their research, and in response to the global health call for an epidemic that has killed at least 5 million people. The similarity of the vaccine is a very important factor. “There are still some places in the world where only 5 percent of the population has been vaccinated,” he said, as in the US people get second or third levels and start vaccinating children before the holidays.