Covid-19 manufacturing roundup: Freezer kits to store vaccines delivered to Venezuela; UN chief weighs in on IP debate
In an effort to support Venezuela’s vaccination efforts, the first 50 of 100 freezer kits were delivered to the country Wednesday, the United Nations Children’s Fund told Reuters.
Health minister Carlos Alvarado said earlier this week that the country has received 1.48 million vaccine doses between China’s Sinopharm and the Russian Sputnik V. Both vaccines require 2 shots.
The freezers are vital to the storage of vaccines, particularly because the country’s hospital network often lacks electricity. Venezuela has reported 201,807 infections and 2,208 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic started last March, but academics say the number of cases and death toll is much higher.
Each refrigerator has a 256-liter capacity and can hold 8,500 doses, Reuters reports.
UN chief weighs in on IP debate
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has taken a stance on whether vaccine makers should allow other companies to produce versions of their Covid-19 shot. Guterres supports the sharing of intellectual property, Reuters reports.
“The Secretary-General has often called for technology transfers and sharing of know-how and voluntary licensing or sharing of licensing,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Reuters.
The chief has long called for the vaccines to be made available to all countries, and has asked for more funding for the COVAX sharing facility.
The news comes in the same week that Gilead has sued the Russian government for allowing another company to make its remdesivir treatment for patients with Covid-19, according to filings. The filing accuses The Pharmasyntez Company of using Gilead’s process for manufacturing remdesivir without the consent of the patent holder.
US President Joe Biden’s administration weighed in on the matter Wednesday, as it came out in support of waiving intellectual property protections in an effort to slow rapid increase in cases in India and South America.