NIH offers to share Covid-19 technologies with WHO – report – Endpoints News

In what could be a first for the US government, the Biden administration is expected to share NIH-developed Covid-19 technologies with the WHO’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, or C-TAP.

The move would allow other countries to replicate American technology to better fight the pandemic, according to sources who spoke with the Washington To post. But so far, it’s unclear exactly what will be shared.

“I thank the NIH for providing innovative therapies, vaccines and diagnostic methods for COVID-19,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “Voluntarily sharing technologies through non-exclusive agreements will not only help us put the pandemic behind us; it will also enable low- and middle-income countries to produce their own medical products and gain equitable access.

The announcement was made this morning during the US Covid-19 Dialogue Meeting with Health Ministers, with Adhanom Ghebreyesus alongside Tony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser.

According to To post, some of the technologies being developed by the NIH will be licensed to C-TAP, as well as sublicensed to the Medicines Patent Pool, a UN-supported public health organization.

Both Pfizer and Merck have reached agreements with the Medicines Patent Pool to expand access to their Covid-19 pills.

Peter Maybarduk, director of the Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, said in a statement:

The immediate medical value of today’s announcement will depend on licensed NIH technologies, which have not yet been announced. NIH and NIH-supported research has been essential to the development of cutting-edge medical advances, including the world’s most effective COVID vaccine, NIH-Moderna. But many NIH-owned technologies are at an early stage or only part of a final medical product. HHS has not indicated its intention to require pharmaceutical companies to license the technology, which would be necessary to facilitate the new production of today’s vaccines.

How the U.S. government licenses this partially private technology will also be closely watched by industry, as it could clamp down on public-private partnerships if companies think they might lose money from a such cooperation.

But the policy is apparently not intended to apply to Covid vaccines and therapeutics that were developed by private companies and are currently on the US market, the Post wrote. Specifically, Moderna’s mRNA vaccine should not be shared by the United States, although advocates such as Public Citizen have called on Moderna to share its intellectual property more widely. And some companies in Africa claim to have already replicated Moderna technology.

This latest development also opens a new perspective on the patent dispute between the NIH and Moderna. While the NIH claimed earlier last year that three of its scientists should be listed in the Moderna patent for the company’s lucrative Covid-19 vaccine, Moderna has agreed to make the government co-owners. And there’s a larger question of what the NIH intends to do with the mRNA vaccine if it becomes co-owner – whether it could be a dossier or a license granted to another entity.

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