But in a good way.
In a moved that surprised me the Biden administration has announced that it favors waiving Covie vaccine patents.
I had hoped that they would eventually do this, but I expected that there would be 6 months of denials and alibis until the moral outrage forced them to take this move.
Happy to be wrong:
The Biden administration on Wednesday threw its support behind a controversial proposal to waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, with liberals framing it as a necessary bid to speed the shots to billions in the developing world, while the drug industry warned of devastating effects to vaccine production.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the United States will now move forward with international discussions to waive the protections for the duration of the pandemic. U.S. officials helped block a World Trade Organization proposal that was introduced last year to stop enforcing patents for coronavirus-related medical products. Dozens of developing countries have pushed for the proposal, arguing that it would allow them to rapidly produce their own generic vaccines, rather than wait months or years for sufficient doses.
The decision to go forward with the waiver after weeks of internal deliberations was finalized at a White House meeting on Tuesday with President Biden, said senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the deliberations. Staff at the meeting included Tai, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients, and Bruce Reed, deputy chief of staff for policy, all of whom supported the decision. But Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who had concerns about the waiver, was not included in the meeting, the people said. The Commerce Department declined to comment.
Of course Gina Raimondo wasn't involved. She's a complete corporate stooge, and she would always take the side of whoever is closest to Wall Street, much as she self-dealt to herself and her Wall Street buddies as Governor of Rhode Island.
Administration officials have acknowledged their uncertainty about whether the waiver will actually speed up production of coronavirus vaccines across the world. The mRNA vaccines, made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, require special technology that most countries do not have access to, raising questions about which countries will actually have the technological capacity to manufacture the complicated vaccines.
The reporter clearly doesn't know the technology, as Corey Docterow observes, mRNA vaccines can pack most a whole vaccine factory in the space of a closet:
So, is it a lie? MRNA vaccines are super-new tech. Maybe their manufacture is so esoteric that only the richest, most powerful countries can make them?
“Rapid development and deployment of high‐volume vaccines for pandemic response” (DOI: 10.1002.amp2.10060) is an open access, peer-reviewed paper in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Journal of Advanced Manufacturing and Processing:
Its co-authors are an interdisciplinary team of chemical engineers, infectious disease specialists and vaccine specialists from Imperial College London and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
The authors aren’t specifically addressing themselves to the question of global development of mRNA vaccine production, but are instead concerned with any kind of generic rampup in production — either in response to a new virus, or because of an mRNA-based vaccine breakthrough for an existing virus. They reason that any kind of annual covid shot will occupy the majority of existing mRNA vaccine production facilities, so any new global vaccination project will require that new production sites be built.
I know, I just blockquoted all of that, so it would be redundant to bullet it below, but JESUS F%$#ING HOLY GODDAMNED SH%$BALLS, does this ever bear repeating:
- New facilities will be 99–99.9% smaller than conventional vaccine facilities
- They will be 95–99.7% cheaper than conventional vaccine facilities
- You could use a single room in a conventional vaccine factory to make more vaccine doses of mRNA vaccines than the entire output of the rest of the factory
- New vaccines can be made 1,000% faster than previous vaccines
There’s more, like the fact that you only need part of the facility to be a high-spec clean-room, and the rest can be built on more conventional lines.
For $20m, they say they can build a facility where, for $100m/year, they can turn out 1b doses/year, using a single 5L bioreactor.
Run the numbers there. That's a cost of $0.12/dose.
Add in the cost of regulatory compliance, packaging, maintaining a cold chain while shipping it a few hundred (as opposed to a few thousand) miles, and tracking lots, and you are still below $10/dose.
The Pharma powers that be are opposed to any sort of relaxation of IP regulations not because duplicating their instrumentality is hard, but because it is trivially easy, and said technology is publicly developed and publicly funded.
They want to continue to extract their rents and keep their ill-gotten gains, because they want another yacht to water-ski behind.