Good Day BIO: News on TRIPS and the WTO ministerial
November 19, 2021
BIO recently went to Geneva to discuss vaccine equity—we have a readout and what to expect from the upcoming WTO ministerial. Plus, everyone’s talking about carbon, so we examine the latest technologies to capture, store, and recycle it. (819 words, 4 minutes, 5…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
November 19, 2021
BIO recently went to Geneva to discuss vaccine equity—we have a readout and what to expect from the upcoming WTO ministerial. Plus, everyone’s talking about carbon, so we examine the latest technologies to capture, store, and recycle it. (819 words, 4 minutes, 5 seconds)
The latest news on TRIPS and the upcoming WTO ministerial
What we know: The co-sponsors of the proposed TRIPS waiver recently said “this initiative should be an integral part of any successful MC12 outcome.” India is reportedly engaging with delegations to “allay their concerns,” while U.S. Trade Rep. Ambassador Katherine Tai reiterated support for a waiver.
We’ll say it again: Waiving IP protections would compromise global vaccination efforts, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath wrote in STAT News.
“Global IP did not block but has enabled the rapid scale-up of COVID vaccine production for the globe,” explained Steve Bates, CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association and Chair of the International Council of Biotechnology Associations (ICBA). “IP rules underpinned the early transfer of the Oxford AstraZeneca scale-up to the Serum Institute of India, which has produced the most global doses of any vaccine so far.”
Even a temporary waiver sets a dangerous precedent: “For innovative biotech companies, who don’t have established products, IP is our lifeblood," he continued. “Without IP, the innovation ecosystem from which the crucial COVID products have emerged would be decimated—and future pandemics would not have the innovative well from which to draw the solutions needed.”
Ahead of MC12, BIO and ICBA went to Geneva to discuss solutions, meeting with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and World Health Organization (WHO) leadership, and Ambassadors and representatives from around the world.
“The power of working together was on display in Geneva,” said Dr. Michelle. “Our meetings with the WHO, WTO, and country representatives made a major impact because BIO and our global sister associations presented a united front advocating for a strong innovation ecosystem.”
Vaccines are available. Manufacturers have forged 300+ partnerships to scale up production and distribution, as well as voluntarily licensing technology to low- and middle-income countries—and billions more doses are coming.
CNBC: Vir Biotech says its treatment ‘stands up well’ to all variants “It certainly is an effective antibody against COVID, but also against SARS, also against many other coronaviruses,” said Vir CEO George Scangos.
POLITICO: FDA said to be ready to endorse Pfizer and Moderna boosters at once “The FDA is now expected to finalize authorization for both vaccines on Friday morning, ahead of an afternoon meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory panel.”
Repurposing carbon shows promise in combating climate change
Fuel and chemical company Virent is making renewably sourced hydrocarbon out of feedstocks and biomass. Its patented BioForming® technology uses catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based sugars into a wide array of hydrocarbon products.
How BIO’s helping: “BIO is leading the charge on Capitol Hill in supporting policies that incentivize the capture, sequestration and creation of carbon-neutral products to build a greener economy,” BIO Communications Director Connor McKoy told Good Day BIO.
Science has always been a part of Alice King’s life. When her mother passed away from cancer, Alice’s dad dedicated his bioscience work towards a cure for breast cancer. So, when Alice received the call from Lykan Bioscience to head the training department and advance cancer research, she said “absolutely yes.”
An elementary education major, Alice is now a Quality Assurance Specialist in Training at Lykan, specializing in communicating difficult concepts.
“The only way we improve our lives and help people and really continue to push the best of what we have to offer is through science and technology,” she says.