Cory Doctorow published an important article on the opportunities for producing MRNA vaccines around the world and the threat posed by dangerous intellectual property stances. “Manufacturing mRNA Vaccines is Surprisingly Straightforward” lays out the case that most countries could feasibly produce their own vaccines but that bad policies are risking countless lives.
Some of the poorest, most populous countries on Earth have petitioned the WTO for a patent waiver to allow them to manufacture generic versions of vaccines. There’s enormous, global support for this, both from people who care about humanitarian causes and from people who just don’t want to die of a mutant strain incubated half a world away. You don’t have to be a latent god-king to recognize the problems of a swimming pool where only one end has a “no pissing rule.”
The very idea of this is an affront to Gates and his ideology. Small wonder, then, that he and his foundation are peddling the racist lie that patents aren’t the reason that poor countries aren’t making their own vaccines — instead, they are simply not “developed” enough to do science (again, the world’s largest existing vaccine factories are in the Global South).Manufacturing mRNA Vaccines is Surprisingly Straightforward
Biotech is not the exclusive realm of rapacious monopolists. Cuba is a biotech powerhouse, and has five vaccines in production, two in Stage III trials. They got there by building a cooperative vaccine sector based on knowledge sharing and open science. The Cuban state — like the American state — has contributed significantly to that science, but with a key difference: the dividends from those contributions are part of our common scientific heritage. That’s what real “philanthropy” is — not enclosing the commons on behalf of a monopolist who needs to be bribed to spare his neighbors from civilizational collapse.Manufacturing mRNA Vaccines is Surprisingly Straightforward