Global license program to receive Covid-19 support from the NIH
A WHO program will see some support from the Biden administration in the fight against Covid-19.
At the second Global Covid-19 Summit, the administration, through the NIH, has decided to officially license 11 Covid-19 research tools and early-stage vaccine and diagnostic candidates. This will be done through the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a UN-backed program, through WHO’s Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
The licenses will allow manufacturers from anywhere in the world to work with the MPP and C-TAP to use these technologies for the potential development of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. This will serve to benefit people living in low- and middle-income countries.
Included in the technologies licensed is the SARS-CoV-2 stabilized spike protein—a patented invention included in multiple vaccines.
The C-TAP aims to boost the global supply of vaccines by facilitating the sharing of intellectual property, knowledge, and data with manufacturers that can scale up production. The NIH has already granted nonexclusive licenses to companies for use of the SARS-CoV-2 stabilized spike protein. However, granting further access through the C-TAP program will hope to enable wider access.
According to the WHO, other tools that are being licensed out include the structure-based design of spike immunogens, pseudotyping plasmid, ACE2 dimer construct and a synthetic humanized llama nanobody library, among other diagnostic tools. The C-TAP program will also have access to several vaccine candidates as well. The US will retain all of its existing rights on any licensed technologies.
This move by HHS was expected to come, according to a report from the Washington Post. Also, pharma giants Pfizer and Merck have established prior agreements with the Medicines Patent Pool to expand access to their Covid-19 antiviral pills.
“I welcome the generous contribution NIH has made to C-TAP and its example of solidarity and sharing,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Whether it’s today’s pandemic or tomorrow’s health emergency, it’s through sharing and empowering lower-income countries to manufacture their own health tools that we can ensure a healthier future for everyone.”