Calls For COVID Patent Waivers Persist As Pooling Initiatives Plough Ahead
Patents On COVID-19 Therapeutics Have Been Accused Of Impeding International Access
The formulas for various COVID-19 vaccines remain shrouded in intellectual property protections – one of many factors preventing them from being manufactured in developing nations. Those in favor of upholding IP say that scrapping patents could stifle future innovation, but their opponents believe preserving COVID-19 related IP rights is limiting access to lifesaving medical tools.
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A group of 35 generics manufacturers have signed agreements with the Medicines Patent Pool to supply Paxlovid generics to 95 low- and middle-income countries.
South African researchers make own version of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine that uses “recipes” available in the public domain but one that is eventually expected to be “second generation” and can be more applicable to use in low- and middle-income countries. The initiative, under the wider WHO-backed mRNA vaccine technology hub, doesn’t see Moderna or BioNTech intellectual property as being a barrier.
Almost 30 generics firms based across 11 countries have signed up to agreements with the Medicines Patent Pool to facilitate the supply of oral COVID-19 treatment molnupiravir to 105 low- and-middle-income countries. The move follows an agreement signed in October by the MPP with Merck.