Waging the Vaccine Wars

Even though they are the smartest species to ever walk the earth, human beings retain a strong tendency of making mistakes. This, in particular, has already showed up on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each appearance practically forcing us to look for some sort a defensive cover. We will, on our part, find the stated cover as soon as we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly concealed a lot of our shortcomings, thus giving us a shot at possibilities that we couldn’t even have conceived otherwise. However, the said utopia was also pretty short-lived, and if we are being honest, it was all technology’s fault. You see, the moment technology allowed its layered nature to take over the scene; it gave people an unprecedented chance to exploit others for their own benefit. In fact, the scale on which the whole runner started to materialize will soon overwhelm our governing forces, and consequentially, send them back to square one. Fortunately, though, the coin will flip again, and upon doing so, it will spell a major comeback on the regulators’ part. The traces of the same have been on full display over the recent past, and two notable lawsuits can very well solidify those traces moving forward.

Pharmaceutical giant, Moderna has formally filed two separate lawsuits against Pfizer and BioNtech “for infringing patents central to (its) mRNA technology platform.” According to Moderna’s claims, it filed patents for the stated technology between 2010 and 2016, and then Pfizer and BioNtech copied the core of it to develop their Covid 19 vaccine. Talk about the elements that were seemingly copied here, one was the mRNA chemical modification that prevents undesirable immune responses in vaccine recipients, while the other was the approach to encode for the full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus.

“When COVID-19 emerged, neither Pfizer nor BioNTech had Moderna’s level of experience with developing mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases, and they knowingly followed Moderna’s lead in developing their own vaccine,” Moderna said.

The complaint, interestingly enough, comes two years after Moderna pledged not to enforce its Covid-19-related patents “while the pandemic continued.” To be fair, the company is still not trying to get Pfizer’s vaccine removed from the market. Furthermore, Moderna is also not seeking a cut in Pfizer’s sales across 92 low and middle-income countries that have had a tough time getting access to the world’s supply of Covid-19 vaccines. Instead, it is seeking an undisclosed amount of fee in return for the commercialization of its technology.

As for Pfizer and BioNtech’s reaction to the lawsuit, both the companies have flat out refuted Moderna’s accusation.

“Pfizer/BioNTech has not yet fully reviewed the complaint but we are surprised by the litigation given the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine was based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit,” Pfizer said in a written statement

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