Billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates in a recent interview voiced his opinion on sharing vaccine formulas with developing nations around the world, which took everyone by surprise.
In an interview with Sky News, Bill Gates was asked if it would help the current vaccine shortage if the intellectual property protections were lifted and allow other vaccine makers around the world to make those vaccines. To this he responded with a, “No”.
He further explained, “There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. 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 can happen at all.”
He added that it’s not as simple as just sharing a recipe — the drug needs to be tried and tested and for this, the manufacturing process has to be done with extreme caution, “The thing that’s holding things back, in this case, is not intellectual property. It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. And every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.”
Bill Gates further stated that he wasn’t surprised to see rich nations prioritising the vaccine for themselves, while also stating that developing nations will get their hands on the vaccine once the developed nations are done getting vaccinated, “The fact that now we’re vaccinating 30-year-olds in the UK and the US and we don’t have all the 60-year-olds in Brazil and South Africa vaccinated, that’s not fair, but within three or four months the vaccine allocation will be getting to all the countries that have the very severe epidemic.”