Researchers studying next-generation vaccines to fight an evolving Covid-19 threat are running into problems getting existing vaccines to use in their research.
Because Pfizer and Moderna hold the patents for the current vaccines, researchers would likely have to get the companies’ permission to use them for research into products like nasal or pan-coronavirus vaccines. Right now, Pfizer isn’t sharing its vaccines for research purposes, a spokesperson confirmed to STAT. Moderna didn’t comment when we asked.
Pfizer’s stance is legal and in line with the company’s commercial interests, said Ana Santos Rutschman, a professor of law at Villanova University.
“If you use this thing that has been patented, what you’re doing doesn’t matter. Even if you’re trying to cure cancer, the law is pretty rigid,” she said.
But some university researchers argue the posture slows global progress toward more effective vaccines in the future, especially since the United States has already wasted tens of millions of doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.