My friend Dave Winer (haven’t actually met, but I feel like we have a conversation going) asks for a simple explanation for why the pharmas won’t release the IP for the Coronavirus vaccines to the public domain, to alleviate the shortage in supply,
It’s clear that this is needed. But my understanding of why it’s not in the companies’ interest is: the tech behind the new mRNA vaccines is potentially much more general, to be applied to all sorts of disease. It’s taken years to develop, and the COVID vaccine is just the first instance of its being (fabulously) successfully applied to a real world problem.
Companies are concerned that, by teaching anyone to make it, they’re effectively foregoing any ability to make a return from future applications of the same tech.