US, Moderna in Dispute Over Vaccine Patent Rights - Reports

© AP Photo / Ted S. WarrenIn this March 4, 2021 file photo, a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rests on a table at a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle.
In this March 4, 2021 file photo, a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rests on a table at a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.11.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government and Moderna pharmaceutical company are embroiled in a bitter dispute over the patent rights for the central component of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, The New York Times reported citing officials familiar with the matter.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) claimed that three scientists from its Vaccine Research Center have cooperated with Moderna experts to design the genetic sequence, which pushes the vaccine to build an immune response to the virus, the report said on Tuesday. The agency requires that their names should appear on the patent application.
Moderna disputed those arguments and included only its own specialists as inventors of the component in the application, which the company filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The controversy may seriously delay the vaccine distribution in the long term and could cause billions of dollars in the future, the report added.
The two sides were negotiating on the issue for more than a year but did not reach an agreement, the newspaper noted. Furthermore, the NIH was surprised by Moderna’s application, it added. It is unclear when the patent office will make its decision, but there is even a possibility of judicial resolution if both parties will not find meeting points, and this court case can be expensive, the report noted.
The battle began amid frustration in the US government over Moderna’s limited efforts to get its vaccine to poorer countries, according to the report.
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