Vaccine maker Moderna sued Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday, alleging that a competitor’s Covid-19 vaccine infringes its patents protecting its breakthrough technology. NPR reports: The lawsuit alleges that the two companies used certain key features of Moderna’s technology developed to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. It alleges that Pfizer and BioNtech’s vaccine infringes on patents that Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 for its messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology.

All three companies’ COVID-19 vaccines used mRNA technology, which is a new way to make vaccines. In the past, vaccines were usually made using parts of the virus or an inactivated virus to stimulate an immune response. Through mRNA technology, the vaccine uses messenger RNA created in the lab to send genetic instructions that teach our cells to make a protein or part of a protein that triggers an immune response. In October 2020, Moderna pledged not to enforce its patents related to COVID-19 while the pandemic continues, the company said in a statement. The company said in March this year that it would stick to its commitment not to enforce its patents related to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, but expects rival companies such as Pfizer to respect its intellectual property.

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