Microsoft founder Bill Gates rejected calls for the United States to share vaccine formulas with poorer countries as much of the world grapples with another wave of coronavirus infections, Sky News reports.
Gates, who has pledged hundreds of millions to fund vaccine development and distribution, said it would not be helpful for the US to lift patent protections on coronavirus vaccine technology to allow other countries to manufacture their own versions.
“There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines,” he said. “And so moving something that had never been done — moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India — it’s novel — it’s only because of our grants and expertise that that can happen at all.”
Gates said the problem is “not intellectual property.”
“It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. Every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.”
Gates predicts normal by 2022:
Though Gates opposes sharing the vaccine formulas, he urged richer nations to share their vaccines and predicted that the world would return to “normal” by 2022.
"There are still some questions about how broadly the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will get used, if that's accepted it would be very beneficial but some of the rich countries including the US and the UK, even this summer will get to high vaccination levels and that'll free up so that we're getting vaccines out to the entire world in late 2021 and through 2022 and so, we won't have eradicated this disease but we'll be able to bring it down to very small numbers by the end of 2022,” he told the outlet.
"Because many of the vaccines worked, although we are looking at some of the side effects now and making sure we can treat those and that they are very rare, that good news means we will be able to supply others... and so the places where you want to get everyone over-60 vaccinated, like South Africa, Brazil, that will become a priority just in the next three or four months,” he added.
US to share vaccine doses:
The White House said Monday that it will share its entire stock of up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with poorer countries.
The vaccine is widely used around the world but has not been approved in the US. The US will ship as many as 60 million doses to other nations if the Food and Drug Administration approves their safety in about four-plus weeks.
“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the U.S. already has and that have been authorized by the FDA, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorized for use in the U.S., we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next several months,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients told the Associated Press. “Therefore the U.S. is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available.”