Health and legal advocacy groups and scientists have called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently begin the process of changing the country’s laws to protect the Cape Town center for the production of messenger RNA vaccines against patents owned by Moderna Inc.
A group of more than 30 signatories, including Doctors Without Borders, the Anglican Church of South Africa and the Legal Resource Centre, wrote to Ramaphosa asking him to “take the necessary executive action” to ensure the transfer of mRNA vaccine technology with support from the World Health Organization . the center’s efforts and the capacity of low- and middle-income countries to research the development, production and registration of mRNA vaccines.
The group is “deeply concerned that Moderna’s excessive patent protection will impede the future development and use of mRNA technology,” according to a statement released by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
Moderna has said it will not enforce patents that effectively give it the right to prevent anyone from making or selling an mRNA vaccine in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the group said that even if the pharmaceutical company follows through on the promise, the center’s work is not safe because it only applies to Covid-19 vaccines.
The center also intends to research and produce mRNA vaccines and therapeutics against other diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV and cancer, the group said.
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