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Increasing Access to COVID-19 Technology

The US government has created a "patent pool" that includes licenses for 11 COVID-19-related medical technologies developed at the National Institutes of Health with the goal of helping low- and middle-income countries gain access to the various vaccine, drug, and diagnostic technologies, Science reported on Friday.

President Joe Biden disclosed the plan last Thursday at the Global COVID-19 Summit. The federally funded inventions will be included in the so-called COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, organized by the World Health Organization, Science reported. WHO then assigns the licenses to nonprofit organization the Medicines Patent Pool, which negotiates with manufacturers interested in using the technologies to make products that can be sold worldwide, according to the report.

James Love, who directs Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a nonprofit that advocates for sharing intellectual property to benefit the public, told Science that the move is "a pretty big deal" and a "significant" show of support for KEI's mission to make medicines developed in rich countries more broadly accessible.