Heisenberg wrote:I really do wonder how anyone can watch the way this vaccination effort has played out and think there is any sense whatsoever in the free market pharma model. We currently have the richest countries in the world squabbling with each other over who has ordered what, while doing a surprisingly shit job of actually vaccinating people. All of this despite the fact that if news reports are accurate, there will very shortly be enough production capacity to vaccinate everyone on earth three or four times over.
This could all be stopped tomorrow by forcing the pharma parasites to share the IP on their vaccines and ramping up production in the interest of global public health. But doing that would mean AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna don't make colossal profits on research that was largely publicly funded in the first place. All these pissing contests about "vaccine nationalism" are a smokescreen when compared to that.
The US export ban on vaccines has nothing to do with the free market; on the contrary, it is protectionism driven by vaccine nationalism. You are trying to muddy the waters.
A company that has developed the new vaccine technologies for decades needs at least 8 months to start a new production line under the best of conditions. A company that doesn't have that experience needs even more time even if it is handed the IP. Moreover, equipment and raw materials for the new vaccines are in short supply. Thus companies without an established supply line and without the know-how would need much more than a year to start producing vaccines. By the time they can finally start producing vaccines, the pandemic will over.
Normally, it takes several years to bring a new vaccine to market. The most optimistic forecast last year was that it would take at least 18 month to get a Covid vaccine. It's a pure miracle that we have a very safe and highly efficient vaccine in less than 11 months. That just goes to show the tremendous power of the free market.
Most of the big vaccine makers failed to develop a Covid vaccine because they are more interested in their bread and butter business than in spending money on innovation. It was small innovative start-ups that made the race: BioNTech, Moderna and CureVac. These companies have developed mRNA vaccine technology for many years on a very small budget. The founder of CureVac is a scientist who has pioneered the technology more than 20 years ago. He had to go begging for funds to keep up his research. The founder of BioNTech, the German son of a Turkish guest worker in the car industry, sold his first company to start BioNTech for mRNA research. They will use the revenues from the Covid vaccine to develop new technology against the new virus variants and against cancer.
By depriving them of their IP, you are proposing to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
You want to punish those who dedicated their lives to developing the technology to hand the technology free of charge to profiteers who didn't have the innovation to come up with a Covid vaccine and who will pocket the profits without putting it back into research. For example, the Indian Serum company, a generic producer that makes most of the AstraZeneca vaccines, sells the vaccine to poor countries at three times the price paid by rich countries, even though AstraZeneca made a non-profit pledge after pocketing billions of subsidies in Europe and the US.Cure for cancer the next target for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine inventor Ugur Sahin
Ugur Sahin, the co-founder and chief executive of BioNTech, the firm which developed the earliest authorized vaccine in partnership with Pfizer, told Arab News that successful cancer treatment, using similar techniques he developed in the fight against COVID-19, was his next goal.
Sahin, who developed the vaccine along with his wife Ozlem Tureci, who is BioNTech’s chief medical officer, was appearing in the latest episode of Frankly Speaking, the series of video interviews with leading global policy-makers and business people.
“Definitely. The success now with our COVID-19 vaccine is of course transformative for the company, and we see that as a great opportunity,” he said
Sahin also spoke of the “next generation” of COVID vaccine his company is developing, the need for a fairer system of global distribution of the existing vaccine, and the possibility that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could be manufactured in the Middle East.
BioNTech began life as a company focused on using revolutionary mRNA technology to develop new medical weapons in the fight against cancer, and Sahin said that was his next goal once the pandemic had been defeated. The success of the COVID-19 vaccine has proved a vindication of his methods, and given BioNTech the financial resources to pursue the cancer treatment.
“We see that as a great opportunity, and also an obligation to think in an even bigger fashion about our vision, and how we could accelerate our cancer program and make it more available,” he said.
Sahin, who is the son of Turkish immigrants to Germany, where BioNTech is based, revealed that a new version of the COVID-19 vaccine could be ready soon, one that is more easily transportable and which could deal more effectively with the more deadly variants of the disease that are appearing in different parts of the world.
“We started to manufacture our vaccine and it came at the beginning with a challenge. We have a vaccine which has to be kept at minus 70 degrees. It’s not yet suitable for supply to all regions on the planet,” he said.
“But we are working on better conditions. We have, most recently, published that we can also start at minus 20 and we will continue to work on that and our aim is really to make our vaccine available — 2 billion doses and maybe even more in 2021 — including not only developed countries but also developing countries.”
The “next generation” of the vaccine could be stored and transported at temperatures as high as minus 2 to minus 8 degrees, he said.
Sahin said that the existing vaccine was also expected to be effective against the South African variant of the virus, which is more transmissible and leads to higher fatality rates, but he added that there was still more testing to be done and data analyzed on the new variants.
Distributing the vaccine more fairly is a challenge, he admitted. “Fairness is always a question of logistics and also accessibility. Our goal when we started to develop this vaccine — and this is in the center of our hearts — is to make our vaccine available worldwide to everyone who needs it,” he said.
He also believes that a more innovative and entrepreneurial approach is needed to solve the problems of distribution of the vaccine to poorer parts of the world.
“We should really ask the question: How can we work together to make that possible?” Sahin said. “That's for some of the future goals, to really understand what are the limitations. For example, for the vaccine supply now, I really want to understand what is the limitation to make our vaccine available to people everywhere,” he said.
One of the key questions in the minds of economic and medical policymakers is when the increasing level of vaccination will begin to bring economic life back to normal after the damaging lockdowns of the past year. “it indeed depends on the rollout. We have this magic number of about 60 to 70 percent of people being vaccinated to start to see a herd immunity, but we are already starting to see the first effects of the vaccinations, with countries starting to vaccinate elderly people.
“So the first effect is that the hospitalizations are dropping in the vaccinated people and that's the first very important aspect — to get the reduction of hospitalization and mortality, and later on get also a better control of infections,” Sahin said.
On the problem of persuading people reluctant to have the vaccine, he said: “We have to continue to communicate the benefits we are seeing. This could help convince people.”
BioNTech partnered with US pharmaceuticals group Pfizer when the potential of its vaccine was in the early stages, optimizing the Americans’ global network for clinical trials, supply and regulatory know-how.
“So, we combined our skills and we are working together, driven by science. At the end of the day, we all want to accomplish the same: We want to develop the vaccine as soon as possible, we want to produce as much as possible, and of course we want to have a safe and effective vaccine,” he said.
Outside the US, the vaccine is manufactured at BioNTech facilities in Europe and transported internationally. A new facility in the German town of Marburg is being prepared to manufacture the vaccine in greater numbers, but Sahin explained the long and complex work required in setting up facilities overseas.
“It will take us about eight months until we will get out the first vaccines from Marburg. So, this is really the minimal time that would be required. It does not help in the early phase of the pandemic to set up new factories somewhere else. Every factory that we are now starting to consider will help us only in mid-2022,” he said.
@Heisenberg, @Potemkin, @Pants-of-dog, @B0ycey, why is it that today's leftists keep on parroting this nonsense about depriving the innovators of their IP even when it can only have negative consequences? The reason is obviously that today's leftists are totally alienated from the reality of manufacturing and labour. Only somebody totally ignorant about vaccines development and manufacturing would propose such nonsense.
The innovative biotechnology startups that invented the vaccines are already in partnerships with other pharma companies, Moderna entered into a partnership with Merck, Lonza, etc., BioNTech entered into a partnership with Pfizer, Sanofi, Baxter and many others, CureVac entered into a partnership with Bayer, Wacker, GSK, Novartis, etc., all to ramp up production.
The politicians have completely failed to protect us from the pandemic by public health measures. Now, our last hope are the scientists to save us by vaccines. What's wrong with leftists who want to punish the inventors of the vaccines by taking away their IP even though it can only have negative consequences?
I find it very disturbing to live in a world where people spout such destructive nonsense. IP will of course not be confiscated because in the real world that would have devastating consequences.
As a live-long leftist, I find it kind of sad that this sort of BS talk will relegate the left to the lunatic fringe. I guess we just have to get used to a changing world in which the left will end up in the dustbins of history because of its own ideological idiosyncrasy.