Stocks, Technology

WHO hired company to copy Moderna

The World Health Organization has hired the company, called Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, as part of a $100 million plan to figure out how to make an mRNA vaccine against COVID that is as close as possible to the version produced by Moderna.

As to why WHO has chosen to try to copy Moderna rather than the other mRNA COVID vaccine, which is made by Pfizer BioNTech, Friede says the choice was practical.

“Moderna has reiterated on several occasions that they will not enforce their intellectual property during the pandemic,” says Friede. In other words, a manufacturer probably won’t face a lawsuit for producing a vaccine that’s virtually identical to Moderna’s.

But Afrigen’s Petro Treblanche says there are still a lot of unknowns. Take Moderna’s patent.

“It’s written very carefully and cleverly to not disclose absolutely everything,” says Treblanche.

So while Afrigen has been able to determine most of the equipment and specialized ingredients that are needed, “what we don’t know is the exact concentrations,” says Treblanche. “And we don’t know some of the mixing times — some of the conditions of mixing and formulating.”

NPR

The fact that we are in a pandemic situation and we have Moderna not sharing the COVID-19 vaccine recipe makes me uncomfortable. On one hand, I think innovation should be protected and rewarded. In this case, trade is protected for 20 years for the technology that Moderna invented. The question is whether this is ethical to have a company guard their profits at the cost of potential human live losses. Moderna also promises not to enforce their intellectual property during a pandemic which seems kinda reasonable. Moderna also released the genetic sequence but not give the exact procedure to manufacture it.

Travel

VTL between Singapore and USA

Vaccinated travelers can enjoy quarantine-free travel between Singapore and seven European countries (Denmark, France, Germany*, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom), Canada, and the United States starting 19 October 2021, as well as South Korea starting 15 November 2021.

Singapore Air

Starting from 19 October 2021, these two flights will be available for travelers between USA and Singapore:

  • Between New York and Singapore, SQ23 will operate daily as the designated VTL flight.
  • Between Los Angeles and Singapore, SQ37 will operate daily as the designated VTL flight from

Time to plan for a trip to Singapore!

On a separate note, VTL between San Francisco and Singapore will begin with SQ33 operating daily from 20 October 2021.