After the discovery of the polio vaccine that saved millions of people from death and disability, the scientist Albert Sabin said that he had not patented his vaccine because “you don’t patent the sun”, you don’t patent life, but mainly because keeping costs low has increased the spread of the vaccine.
The experience of past mass epidemics such as HIV and HCV has taught us, precisely from a privileged observatory such as research, that public discoveries, financed by general taxation, will produce profits for the few. The dramatic nature of the epidemic and its social costs require, today even more so, that basic research must be the heritage of all.
Now in a reality like the present one, which shows how crucial research is to saving lives from the coronavirus, USB Research launches an appeal against the commodification of the genome and coronavirus components to produce specific vaccines or antiviral therapies. We are already witnessing the race for the announcement and, as economic operators say, this also underlies the attempt by the pharmaceutical industries to exploit the epidemic to profit from it.
The governments, which have demanded and imposed sacrifices on the population while at the same time supporting the drive for production and profit of the industrial lobbies, which is in fact thwarting the containment measures, are now imposing themselves on the issue of the intellectual property of the coronavirus and preventing further profits: they are producing rules that avoid patenting and reduce costs to the community at production costs alone.
They have asked us for unity, they have flooded us with national rhetoric, they are now acting consistently and preventing multinationals from getting rich on the epidemic to the detriment of the people.
Click here to sign the appeal