COVID-19, Its Variants, and Patent Disclosures
European Intellectual Property Review 4/2023
29 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2023
Date Written: January 6, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic persists despite considerable international eradication efforts, with the global pandemic reigniting an old debate on the role of patent and other intellectual property rights for the development of essential medicines during exceptional health crises. Indeed, several patents have been granted to pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac for SARS-Cov-2 vaccines and associated SARS-Cov-2 materials and components, including mRNA and nucleic acids, vaccine delivery vehicles, lipids, nanoparticles, and adjuvants. That said, commentators have highlighted the need to balance the interests of research-based pharmaceutical industries in seeking and exploiting patents in order to recoup their investments with the public interest in equitable vaccine access. And efforts to make effective COVID-19 vaccines available to people around the planet are even more crucial as new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged in rapid and continuous succession.
Against this background, this article aims to highlight the complexity of the emergence of such vaccine-resistance COVID variants, along with means of global surveillance of such variants (Sections 2 and 3). Section 4 then expands upon how failure to fully disclose all aspects of the manufacturing process of a vaccine could impact negatively on vaccine efficacy, with Section 5 focusing on the interplay between patent disclosures and SARS-CoV-2 variants. Section 6 concludes.
Funding Information: None to declare.
Declaration of Interests: None to declare.
Keywords: COVID-19, COVID, SARS-CoV-2, Patent, Disclosures, Vaccine, Variants, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, PandemicCOVID-19 Variants
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