RE: WIRED 2021: CEO of Moderna on the fight over the future of Covid-19 vaccine
yesterday New York Times Dropped a bomb shell report on a patent surrounding Moderna’s Covid 19 vaccine. After a four-year partnership with the National Institutes of Health, Moderna applied for a patent for the most important component of its vaccine, and it did so, involving only the names of its scientists. Because of the NIH’s concerns, all of its scientists were excluded from patent filing, which could have major implications. If a government agency was involved in the filing, theoretically, the United States would be able to license the technology, which would help it get faster and wider, including in more developing countries where vaccination is available. The rate is low. If the patent is approved in writing, it will give Moderna complete control over the technology – and potentially add tens of billions more. Many in the scientific community see Moderna’s move as a betrayal.
Today on RE: WIRED, we sit down with Stephane Bancel, CEO of our own senior author Marine McKenna Moderna, and Dr. Naheed Bhadelia, MD, MALD, an international infectious disease specialist. Bhadelia is the founding director of Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research, as well as associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), which facilitates maximum content research at BU.
Moderna’s Bancel said it could not comment further on the specific patent case as it is an open legal matter, but noted that simply making the prescription available would not immediately provide enough vaccines. “There are no factories around the world waiting to make this product. Because these factories don’t exist. It’s a brand new product,” Bensell said.
“If you think about it, you need a lot of investment to come up with innovative products,” he said. While Moderna received billions of dollars from the US government to fund its research as part of Operation Warp Speed, Bansal said the money came when it came to actually building manufacturing capabilities for its new vaccine. Less was coming. When governments and foundations were unwilling to invest, the company had to go to the capital markets instead of raising about ً 5 billion. They argue that in order to motivate people to invest this type of money, they generally need to believe that their investment will pay off.
For his part, Dr. Bhadelia does not think that this is the case. She thinks it’s about finding a balance to ensure that companies are making a profit so that they can continue their research, while responding to the call for global health needs during the epidemic. At least 5 million people have been killed so far. Vaccine equity is an important component. “There are still parts of the world where only 5% of the population has been vaccinated,” he said, adding that while people in the United States are receiving a second or third dose, children are being vaccinated before the holidays. Has done