Almost everyone agrees that the world needs more Covid-19 vaccines. As we write, some countries have still to manage Even a single dose of vaccine and current projections suggest that many countries need to do so Wait until 2023 widespread vaccination to begin.
Nevertheless, the debate is raging about it Why The world is short of vaccines and the barriers that must be overcome to produce and spread more. Intellectual property has become a flash point in discussion.
According to the major European and American pharmaceutical companies currently making Covid-19 vaccines, the status quo – vaccine shortages for everyone but those living in a few dozen rich countries – is inevitable and unresolvable. These companies consistently reiterate a fundamental no-nonsense premise: They are the only ones who can make these vaccines, and they are making them ASAP. Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are currently on their way to shipping enough vaccines to vaccinate a majority of adults in rich countries in the world and too donate and sell significantly fewer numbers of doses to low and middle income countries, At least until next year. These companies insist that if they only could, they would make more doses and reach more people – but unfortunately they can’t. In addition, the exchange of intellectual property – especially the know-how in the manufacture of vaccines – will only slow down production.
What prevents vaccine manufacturers from producing more vaccines are material problems that are firmly entrenched in the global economy: lack of quality-controlled factories and ingredients for making vaccines, lack of freezers for storing vaccines, lack of engineers and other professionals, who monitor everything. and so on. “The shortage of vaccines is not due to intellectual property, but to unfortunate challenges in manufacturing and distribution.” wrote Michelle McMurry-Heath, President of one of the leading Big Pharma trading groups. Moderna’s CEO said earlier this month: “There is no mRNA production capacity in the world” – and therefore there is no way to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines based on mRNA faster than Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech already.