CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/14/2021
FROM THE NYT TODAY:
”…Three snow leopards died of complications related to Covid-19 at a zoo in Lincoln, Neb., despite efforts by staff to restore them to health after they tested positive for the virus about a month ago, zoo announcements said….The Lincoln Children’s Zoo had published a statement on Oct. 13 disclosing that the snow leopards and Sumatran tigers had “tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.”…This summer, zoo animals started receiving an experimental Covid vaccine made by Zoetis, a veterinary pharmaceutical company in New Jersey….”
(J. Harris: I keep my foreign companions (a German dog and a Norweigan housekeeper) away form unvaccinated folks.)
FROM HOPKINS’ SELECTIONS:
MODERNA Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently in a dispute over which entity should receive patent rights to the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine the company and the agency developed in partnership. The collaboration to develop the vaccine was widely hailed as a shining example of successful interaction between public and private entities for the benefit of the global population. However, Moderna’s patent paperwork noticeably does not include the government scientists involved in the vaccine development process as co-inventors. Moderna’s stance on this dispute is that they “reached the good-faith determination that these individuals did not co-invent” the vaccine. The NIH and consumer advocacy group Public Citizen disagree with this assessment, believing that federal scientists were core to the invention of the vaccine and should be included on the patent. The NIH and Moderna currently are engaged in talks to resolve the dispute, but if left unresolved, the issue could be taken into the court system for resolution.
Ownership of patents vital to vaccine manufacturing has implications beyond the financial aspect; decisions about distribution of the product and information-sharing on patented technology fall under the patent owner’s control. Moderna has repeatedly come under fire for not providing technical information with vaccine manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), although the company has said it will not enforce patents during the pandemic. Both Moderna and Pfizer—which developed a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in partnership with BioNTech—have limited licensing opportunities with other vaccine manufacturers in an effort to protect their large investments in the technology. But this tight hold on mRNA vaccine technology inhibits other countries with vaccine manufacturing capabilities from negotiating access to the information needed to make the products. Following the successful procurement of ample vaccines for the US population, the US government is now making concerted efforts to send more vaccine doses to the rest of the world. However, those efforts are being significantly stymied by strict contractual language with Moderna that prevents the US from sending doses abroad or sharing manufacturing information. Increased scrutiny on Moderna’s tight grip on vaccine supply and technology have led to promises from the company to play a more significant role in global vaccine distribution, but many have stated these pledges are too little, too late and do not guarantee enough action. Some progress in changing contractual language was made in June, but additional efforts still need to be made to improve worldwide availability of vaccine doses and technology.
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