Week 9: What’s happening in the world of the vaccine?

The Medicines for Malaria Venture Launches the COVID Box

On June 10th, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) announced that they will be providing a set of 80 marketed drugs or compounds with potential activity against COVID-19 to researchers, in exchange for scientists publishing their research in the public domain. This effort will increase data sharing and accelerate open and collaborative research on the virus. We welcome this news!

Public Citizen Releases “The People’s Vaccine” Report

On June 11th, our allies at Public Citizen released an updated report with five case studies on some of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The report outlines funding received by each project from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as well as other public funding sources, and highlights the extent to which the most successful coronavirus vaccine research has been funded by taxpayers. Please read the report, which makes it clear how absurd it would be for these projects to produce anything other than a people’s vaccine, free and available to all.

AstraZeneca Announces First Steps Toward Global Access, But Questions Remain

On June 4th, AstraZeneca announced agreements with Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the Serum Institute of India (SII) which represent the company’s steps toward global access to its vaccine. AstraZeneca reached a $750 million agreement with Gavi and CEPI to provide 300 million doses of the vaccine, in addition to the 400 million they have agreed to provide to the U.S. and U.K. Their licensing deal with SII will supply one billion doses for low-and-middle income countries.

And yet, many more salient questions about access remain unanswered. Does AstraZeneca now have exclusive control over the IP developed at Oxford University, as the licensing agreement with SII seems to imply? What is the actual price the vaccine will be sold for in the U.S., U.K., and low-and-middle income countries? As we have seen in the past, an advance market commitment (AMC) is not necessarily the bold step towards access that companies claim it to be. You can read further about flaws in the AMC model here.

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