Scientists in Texas are currently working on the development of a new COVID-19 vaccine called Corbevax. Why is this new vaccine unique? They are using a method that will make the production and distribution of the vaccine cheaper and more accessible. They also will not be patenting the technology, so that anyone who has the capacity to reproduce it can.
This is in stark contrast to most other vaccines on the market today – not only are companies refusing to share the recipe to their life-saving vaccines, there is currently a dispute over who gets to take credit for specific discoveries that lead to the Moderna vaccine, which could result in a lawsuit worth billions of dollars.
So why are these scientists planning to make the technology available to all, despite the potential to cash in on the huge market for vaccines? It may seem obvious, but as one of the lead developers, Dr. Maria Bottazzi says,
“We want to do good in the world. This was the right thing to do and this is what we morally had to do. We didn’t even blink. We didn’t think, ‘how can we take advantage of this?’ You see now that if more like us would have been more attuned to how the world is so inequitable and how we could have helped from the beginning so many places around the world without thinking ‘what’s going to be in it for me?’, we could have basically not even seen these variants arise.”
However, unlike the larger pharmaceutical companies, these humanitarian scientists have received no government funding. Instead they’ve had to rely on donations. This insanity – the government not aiding all efforts to bolster vaccine production in order to keep profits high for a corporations – is not unique or new. And as long as capitalism continues to exist, we can expect the contributions of good-willed scientists and humanitarians to live on the back burners and in the shadows. After all, this system exists to protect profit, not human lives. And if your interest is in the latter, you have to rely on yourself and those around you to do what it takes.