Manufacturing mRNA Vaccines is Surprisingly Straightforward
And the world can’t afford to be half vaccinated
The poorest 125 countries on Earth — pop. 2.5b—have not yet received a single covid vaccine dose. The 85 poorest countries on Earth project full vaccination in 2023 or 2024.
This isn’t just a humanitarian catastrophe, it’s a civilizational risk, an epidemiological game of Russian roulette. Every infected person makes billions and billions of copies of the virus, and every copying operation represents a small — but cumulative — chance for a mutation to emerge. Some mutations will make the virus easier to spread. Some will make it more deadly. Some will confer the ability to infect vaccinated people. Some might do two of these things at once. Some might do all three.
Even if you don’t care about poor people, brown people, and the Global South being devastated by the virus, you should still want to see everyone vaccinated, as soon as possible, to save the lives of everyone you love (and to save your own ass).
The good news is, countries in the Global South are really good at making vaccines. Many of the world’s largest vaccine factories are in poor countries. Indeed, the largest vaccine production facility in the world is in India.
There’s just one problem: the patents and related information necessary to make these vaccines. Just a few months ago, Oxford University was pledging to make its vaccine publicly available, both because this is epidemiologically sound, and because the underlying science was financed at public expense, so selling an exclusive license to a pharma company would be indefensible.
Enter Bill Gates.
They Pledged to Donate Rights to Their COVID Vaccine, Then Sold Them to Pharma
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The Gates Foundation convinced the Oxford team to do an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca. In support of this proposition, Gates argued that without a profit motive, the pharma giants would abandon human society and risk civilizational collapse.