AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today condemned Moderna for its more than year-long refusal to share vaccine know-how and concurrently voiced support for a scientific effort in South Africa that has almost yielded a copy of Moderna’s messenger-RNA-based vaccine against COVID-19, without Moderna’s involvement, according to Nature.
“Countries are forced to spend months and years reverse-engineering technologies that Moderna can readily handover tomorrow and thereby save millions of lives. This level of cynical self-interest and greed by Big Pharma is reprehensible, especially after taxpayers paid billions of dollars for the research in the first place,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We urge President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to accelerate vaccine production, and for other leaders of the wealthiest economies to press vaccine makers to share their know-how and technology immediately. We can’t afford to let precious time tick by, while millions continue to perish from COVID-19.”
In 2021, a South African consortium established the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub, which included Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines in an effort to make these highly effective vaccines available across Africa. To date, mRNA vaccine makers Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech have sent most of their doses, more than 70%, to rich countries, while barely 11% of people in low-income countries have gotten even one dose of a vaccine.
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