So this is a common question to ask -- if Moderna has pledged to not enforce their patents, why can't we start production everywhere? Three reasons:🧵
The 1st, Moderna doesn't own every patent that is used in its vaccine and in the machines used to make their vaccine. Put simply, it can't pledge to not enforce patents it doesn't own. Let's take the most obvious example of this. 2/n
Both NIH/Moderna & Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine use modified nucleosides, specifically n1-methylpseudouridine (rather than uridine, the "U" in the RNA genetic alphabet). in their mRNA This allows the vaccine to express a protein without triggering a cell's antiviral defenses. 3/n
Moderna did not invent this technology! Rather Drew Weissman & Katlin Kariko invented it at Penn and patented it (e.g. U.S. Patent No. 8278036B2). Penn than exclusively licensed this technology to Cellscript. Cellscript than sublicensed this IP to Moderna and BNT for $75 mil each
Here is the thing -- Moderna could give up its patents (they are not doing that), but anyone who tried to make a copy of mRNA-1273 could (and would) be sued by cellscript. There are a bunch of other patents here that Moderna has licensed or uses that it does not own, but uses.
This is especially true of machines that are used to make the vaccine, for example microfluidic lipid nanoprecipitate mixers. Which brings us to the second and 3rd reason, it is pretty difficult to scale up manufacturing of this vaccine without significant funding and tech trans.
tl;dr -- we need three things: 1. A TRIPS waiver, 2. public funding for scale up of vaccine manufacturing, and 3. facilitated tech transfer to transfer know how to other manufacturers. cc: @kenyonfarrow @chrislhayes @gregggonsalves
Here is our plan to scale up mRNA vaccine access and production:…

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More from @jbkrell

25 Apr
I know we are all applauding @JoeBiden for his response to India today, but, to be honest, I think Biden's response is actually really bad. And it shows that nearly 100 days into his administration, they still don't have a plan for ensuring global vaccination. 🧵
First, as @zainrizvi has pointed out, the WH was clear that the materials that would be sent to Serum Institute of India would be for Covishield (the SI version of AZ/Oxford). The only problem? There was NO materials shortage for Covishield that was inhibiting production.
Instead, @SerumInstIndia cannot access supplies for the OTHER COVID-19 vaccine it produces, Covovax, their version of @Novavax, *and not Covishield*. Serum Institute has been 100% explicit about this (once again h/t @zainrizvi):
Read 7 tweets
23 Mar
As the world reels this morning from the @AstraZeneca news, remember that this problem + the general difficulty of comparing different COVID-19 vaccines is due to a decision by the @NIH to not run head to head trials because pharma *didn't want them to*. 🧵
The problem is that each COVID-19 vaccine was evaluated in its own clinical trial(s), each with a different statistical design, end point definition, recruitment strategy etc. A better way would have been to compare each vaccine against each other in a "platform clinical trial".
This would of made direct comparison between each vaccine candidate far easier, because they would have been evaluated on a common trial design and critically, would have generated important info to guide policy makers on selecting candidates for further manufacturing scale up
Read 8 tweets
5 Feb
The @Dereklowe piece sort of misses the point. Yes, there is no idle mRNA vaccine production capacity in the pharma industry that could simply be repurposed to make more COVID-19 vaccines. But we could rapidly *build* more capacity, as we did across the world last year. 🧵
Before we get deep into the weeds, lets remember, in January/Feb, the world had basically no commercial scale mRNA vaccine production capacity. By December, private industry (with a lot of public funds) built 3 billion+ doses / year scale capacity
So what happened? Companies like @pfizer, @BioNTech_Group, and @LonzaGroup (which makes the bulk of finished drug substance for @moderna_tx ) rapidly built mRNA vaccine production capacity inside existing manufacturing facilities.
Read 19 tweets
3 Feb
I am a little confused by this @nytimes reporting by @MarcSantoraNYT and @RebeccaDRobbins on the new AZD1222 data. First of all, the claim that this data is the “first” to document evidence that a COVID vaccine can result in a reduction in transmission seems to be wrong. Image
In fact, just last week, Israeli researchers documented a 50% reduction in both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections in individuals who took a single dose of the Pfizer mRNA shot in a retrospective cohort study.…
This is a preprint, but so is the new Astra data! Furthermore, the original AZD1222 publication in the Lancet in December *also* reported on preliminary PCR positivity in asymptomatic individuals in COV002 as well.… Image
Read 5 tweets
2 Jul 20
When I was 22, I watched a friend become HIV+ cuz he couldn't afford Truvada PrEP which cost s$1,300/m but costs <$6 to make. CDC invented & patented PrEP, but they refused to stop Gilead's price gouging for yrs. Today, the the same thing is happening with remdesivir for COVID.
Last month, @cmorten2 & I showed that not only did (h/t @zainrizvi ) the US government spend >$70 million on developing & inventing the drug, the government is legally entitled to be co-owners of the patents for remdesivir.
This means that USG can license remdesivir to generic manufacturers while paying no (or very little) $ to Gilead. Remember remdesivir costs less than $1 to make a dose, yet Gilead charges over $350 a dose for it. Our government could stop this price gouging today, but will they?
Read 4 tweets
6 May 20
This is an important q from @mynameisjro. The convo around physical distancing reminds me a lot of the pre-PrEP conversations about HIV prevention. THREAD but tl;dr u can shame as much u want, but it doesn't change the fact that our methods of COVID control are not sustainable.
I am NOT saying we should stop physical distancing. But the idea that we can ask people to not see friends, lovers, family etc. for a basically unlimited period of time is BS. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the HIV epidemic in our response to this plague. 2/n
1 of the reasons the HIV epidemic was allowed to run out of control in US queers starting in the early 90s is because we were more focused on shaming queer ppl than finding effective ways to prevent HIV. And a lot of that had to do with the shame around "barebacking". 3/n
Read 11 tweets

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