The Biden administration has come out in support of waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, “in service of ending this pandemic”.
This could be a mindset shifting moment with regards to IP and public health. Historically, disastrous epidemics have been moments when big and lasting shifts have occurred in public health (such as previous advances in sanitation).
Newer teams developing vaccines are recognising the patents bottleneck on supply is unconscionable and developing more human-centred models – for example the Hexapro vaccine will allow companies and labs in 80 low- and middle-income countries to use the protein in their vaccines without paying royalties.
Could we see a long term shift to more human-centred pharma development and IP, in the name of public health?