Health

Panelists Discuss Why Patent Waiver Would Not Accelerate Global Vaccine Distribution

At a panel held in June by The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), two vaccine scientists, Professor Robin Shattock (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Anne Moore (University College Cork) discussed their thoughts on why a patent waiver related to COVID-19 vaccines would not speed up vaccine distribution in lower income countries.

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Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine: A global assessment of demand and supply balance

Over the past decade, several countries–representing all regions, income groups, and procurement methods—have been unable to secure sufficient BCG vaccine supply. While the frequency of stock-outs has remained rather stable, their duration increased in 2014–2015 due to manufacturing issues, attracting the attention of national, regional and global immunization stakeholders. This prompted an in-depth analysis of supply and demand dynamics which aimed to characterize supply risks. This analysis is unique, as it provides a global picture where previous analyses have focused only on a portion of the market that procures vaccines through UN entities. Through a literature review, supplier interviews, and the appraisal of shortages, stock-outs, and historical procurement data, as well as through demand forecasting, this analysis shows an important increase in global capacity in 2017: supply is sufficient to meet forecasted BCG vaccine demand and possibly buffer market shocks. Nevertheless, risks remain, mainly due to supply concentration, limited investment in production process improvements, and inflexibility of demand.

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‘Landmark initiative’: Ramaphosa, Macron announce new SA-based Covid-19 vaccine hub

President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France would invest in boosting the production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, in order to help close the gap in vaccine availability between African and Western nations. South African Innovation Council member Biovac, which has a partnership with France, has partnered with African Biologics and Vaccines (a network of universities) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to establish Africa’s first Covid messenger RNA vaccine technology transfer hub.

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How much COVID-19 vaccine will be produced this year?

Simon J. Evenett and Matt Linley have prepared fresh forecasts for COVID-19 vaccine production through the end of the year.

Currently there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. The 1.73 billion doses of vaccine produced to date pale in comparison to the 10.82 billion doses needed to inoculate 75% of the world’s population aged 5 or over. The shortage is particularly acute in many developing countries that have been unable to secure vaccine supplies, raising legitimate concerns about the equitable access. The development of new variants among the uninoculated—which then spread across borders—is a reminder that a global perspective on vaccine production and distribution is required. According to the authors, by the end of 2021, total COVID-19 vaccine production is forecast to exceed levels needed to reach global herd immunity.

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The European digital health revolution in the wake of COVID-19

Although European health systems have just faced the most challenging public health threat in their modern history, there have been some promising side effects in the form of industry disruptions catalysed by digital health. During this time of crisis, digital health has stepped in to provide expedient healthcare services that offer effectiveness, safety, and even humanity to patients who suffer from chronic conditions or need immediate health care. The European Commission recently recognized this, by proposing the EU4Health programme as part of a larger COVID-19 recovery response programme. The initiative aims to raise €5.1 billion to digitally transform the EU health sector and ensure preparedness for future cross-border health threats.

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Africa needs vaccines. What would it take to make them here?

The authors of this article show that, by their estimates, the public market for vaccines in Africa could rise from $1.3 billion today to between $2.3 billion and $5.4 billion by 2030 (depending on the scenario). While Africa’s population is growing faster than that of most other regions, significant immunization coverage gaps remain, and new products (such as vaccines for Lassa fever or malaria) could be introduced and used widely on the continent. Leaders are increasingly aware of the importance of health security, both for its own sake and as a critical tool for securing the continent’s development, and are increasingly heeding calls for investments into vaccine manufacturing to prevent African countries from being last in line for vital supplies.

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Podcast about vaccines and IP protection

Munk Debates wants to help the world rediscover the art of civil and substantive public debate by convening the brightest thinkers of our time to weigh in on the big issues of the day. Their debate on vaccines provides two interesting perspectives on the vaccine rollout and IP protection.

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GSIV finalists transforming health in developing markets

The UNDP, EPFL, Orange, and SAP have selected Livox, Bempu Health, Vula Mobile, and Mamotest as the health finalists for the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) initiative. From Brazil, India, South Africa, and Argentina, respectively, these midcap companies went through GSIV’s rigorous selection process and emerged as the most impactful and investment-ready ventures, providing products and services to facilitate access to quality health care at the bottom of the pyramid.

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Healthcare Innovation Main Driver of European Patent Applications in 2020

The latest statistics published by the European Patent Office (EPO) show that innovation in healthcare was the main driver of patenting activity in 2020.  Medical technology was the field with the most inventions by volume, while pharmaceuticals and biotechnology were the fastest-growing areas.  Indeed, in 2020, medical technology retook the top spot for most inventions (from the field of digital communication), while pharmaceuticals and biotech showed 10.2% and 6.3% increases in patent filing, respectively.

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