How to thank a company that produced the world’s most effective COVID vaccine, in which it exemplified U.S. leadership in scientific innovation?
By Stabbing It in the Back
Moderna, a biotech startup, exemplifies U.S. leadership in scientific innovation. So how is the Biden administration showing its gratitude? As the WSJ notes, officials in the Biden White House have been leaking to the media that they are very unhappy with Moderna for allegedly “putting profits over vaccinating the world’s poor.”
Moderna has already pledged 500 million doses to Covax, the World Health Organization-backed group distributing donated vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. But progressives want the White House to use the Defense Production Act (or other means) to make Moderna share its intellectual property with the world.
The Warren/Sanders Witch Hunt
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, leading the charge, assert that the government may have the right to confiscate Moderna’s IP because it has received “huge sums of public funding from American taxpayers.” According to the senators, the feds have held Moderna “‘by the hand on a daily basis,.”
False, Argues the WSJ:
To deflect the charge from the left that the U.S. has hoarded vaccines, the White House is kicking Moderna as a scapegoat. Someone needs to correct this progressive misinformation before it harms the great promise of American biotech.
The government paid Moderna so Americans could have its vaccine before the rest of the world, and the cost was a pittance compared to the tens of thousand of lives it has saved. The immunity from Moderna’s vaccine has also proved more durable than from Pfizer’s because it includes three times as much mRNA.
Moderna rapidly expanded its manufacturing capacity to one billion doses this year and plans to increase its capacity to two to three billion doses next year. (The combined global capacity for annual flu vaccines is only 1.5 billion.) Ten percent of Moderna’s Covid vaccine supply this year is being donated to Covax and 20% in the first quarter of next year.
Backstabbing the Chinese Way
As for intellectual property, Moderna has agreed not to enforce its patents and has contracted with manufacturers in lower-income countries for “fill and finishing” jobs that require less expertise. That’s not enough for the left, which wants the Biden Administration to force Moderna to transfer its know-how to these manufacturers.
This is what the Chinese government does to U.S. companies.
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