The Covid-19 pandemic is blocking the whole world since the beginning of 2020.
Laboratories work day and night to find a cure or a vaccine against this disease. We think this vaccine should be available to as many people as possible, at minimum cost. We think the formula of this vaccine, when it will be found, should be in the public domain. Indeed if the formula is in the public domain, we will be ensured that any laboratory in the world will be able to produce it. That would greatly facilitate the access to the vaccine, both in terms of availability and price. We think a private laboratory who would find this vaccine should not keep the monopoly of its production.
On the 24th of April, the WHO launched an initiative to speed up the research and availability of Covid-19 treatment and vaccines. This initiative is backed by the leaders of many countries, with the notable exception of the United States and China.
Ideally the countries and laboratories that collaborated will decide to make the vaccine’s formula public. That was the case in 1955 for the poliomyelitis vaccine. Similarly, hydroalcoholic gel has been in the public domain since its inception.1 It is the most direct legal way to ensure the global availability of the medicine.
But that is not certain. The United States and China, that don’t back this initiative, can decide to priorize the use of this vaccine for their population. Likewise, the laboratory who would discover it can profit from its monopoly to sell this vaccine at a price well above the production cost.
If the laboratory that finds the vaccine refuses to release it in the public domain, we propose to globally crowdfund the purchase of this vaccine, in order to release it in the public domain. An NGO could regroup payments and financial commitments from countries, companies and individuals, to pay the price asked by the laboratory.
We don’t know. The price should be enough to cover the cost of the research, and compensate a part of the loss of earning for the laboratory. This would probably amount to several billion dollars.
We don’t know if such an operation has already been carried out. The patents on medicine become public domain 20 years after their granting, with a supplementary certificate of protection for a few years. We think that today, we should not have to wait.
We are not experts of that domain, but we think that this possibility is worth examining. To help us, you can share this idea:
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