If there is no doubt about the imperative of speedy immunization against Covid-19, the breach of vaccine patents is not, however, a wise bet.
After a back-and-forth on the agenda, the proposal to temporarily break the guarantee for the exclusive commercial exploitation of pharmaceutical companies was approved by the Senate. The next step will take place in the Chamber.
It turns out that an eventual breach of patents does not guarantee the ingredients, the expertise and, neither, the equipment and technologies necessary to produce vaccines.
Highly complex, the immunizers developed by Pfizer and Moderna (both from the USA)
—Companies central to the discussion of patent infringement— use a piece of genetic material (RNA) from the new coronavirus to lead to the body’s immune response.
They are the latest generation of vaccines. They could hardly be reproduced, even in the most sophisticated laboratories in the world, without the proper transfer of technology.
In Brazil, the two vaccines against Covid-19 in production – Coronavac and Oxford / Astrazeneca – derive from techniques known for a while.
The first uses the inactivated virus to lead to the production of antibodies, the same strategy used to manufacture flu vaccines.
The second is based on a chimpanzee adenovirus capable of infecting human cells, but since it does not form new viruses, it prevents the infection from progressing.
Both products were made possible through technology transfer agreements. The country, however, still skates to accelerate mass production.
The immunization process also suffers from a lack of campaigns, guidance and monitoring by the Ministry of Health. These initiatives are much simpler than breaking patents.
As reported by leaf, more than half a million vaccinated with Coronavac in the first month of immunization in the country missed the second dose. And at least 16,500 vaccinees took doses from different manufacturers – which is considered a vaccine error, compromising immunization.
The federal government’s own signal of intention to break a patent may paralyze ongoing immunization purchase negotiations. More important is to increase the production capacity of the products already agreed and to make purchases, in addition to investing in scientific research.