The U.S Government may co-own Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine

An image from Axios showing the American flag. The government is claiming joint ownership of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
Annelise Capossela/Axios

The U.S Government may share ownership of a leading coronavirus vaccine. Moderna has been testing their coronavirus vaccine for months now. As of right now, the company is not affiliating with any government. However, their only ties with the U.S Government is that they are a part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed. So why is the National Institutes of Health claiming joint ownership of their vaccine?

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine

Moderna is currently researching the effectiveness and safety of their experimental coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine, named mRNA 1273, is almost in its final stages of testing. The last phase of vaccine testing is starting next month.

The Trump Administration is financially assisting Moderna. Along with that, Moderna has also made many partnerships with manufacturers and distributors.

Ownership of the vaccine

The coronavirus is currently running the nation. The Government is investing billions of dollars into many companies researching a vaccine that could put a stop to all this.

Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, commented that “We do have some particular stake in the intellectual property” in an interview with the Economic Club back in May. Further supporting this claim are some documents obtained by Axios and an analysis from Public Citizen.

The NIH rarely fights for ownership of vaccines or health resources. They mostly fund outside research that they believe in.

What does this all mean?

The NIH having joint ownership of the vaccine could mean many things. Firstly, the vaccine could be distributed as a free or low-cost public good. Because of this, Moderna wouldn’t have any say in it. Secondly, the American Government could do what they please with the vaccine without consent from Moderna.

Companies don’t see vaccines for this virus as a way to make billions. Most are seeking one-digit profit percentages.

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