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Not During the Pandemic

Moderna has announced it will not enforce its COVID-19 vaccine-related patents during the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The firm, it adds, is developing an mRNA-based vaccine that is currently in Phase III testing, and has at least seven patents related to it. But in a statement this week, the company said it would not be enforcing those patents against others developing vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it said it would be willing to license its intellectual property for COVID-19 vaccines for after the pandemic ends.

"We're quite studiously not asserting infringement," Stephen Hoge, the president of Moderna, tells the Journal. "We're doing the opposite of creating that kind of anxiety for folks. We're not interested in using that IP to decrease the number of vaccines available in a pandemic."

This move, Bloomberg notes, is uncommon. In a statement, James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, which Bloomberg says has criticized the company's patents, says the decision is "very good, and should be matched by every manufacturer of a therapeutic, vaccine or diagnostic test." Love further urges Moderna and others to participate in pools established by the World Health Organization.