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(Mother Jones)   African scientists are doing their part into developing a Covid vaccine for the world's poor   (motherjones.com) divider line
    More: Hero, Poverty, Engineering, Africa, Donald Trump, Reverse engineering, coronavirus vaccine, Mother Jones, Software cracking  
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1684 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Oct 2021 at 3:30 AM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-10-24 9:53:46 PM  
I sincerely wish them good luck and much success.

I hardily endorse that manufacturers of approved COVID-19  vaccines provided their vaccines at greatly reduced cost to poor countries.

/Milk the rich countries.
//I'm cool with that, i.e. take my money.
 
2021-10-25 3:56:03 AM  
"Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far."

If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is. If the piss-poor response to global heating was a bad sign, a deadly global pandemic running out of control followed by the rich countries not letting everyone make vaccines (since labs in many of these countries can make vaccines) is a final omen. International cooperation on a meaningful level to react to global crises is DEAD.

Coronavirus is gonna keep coming back, keep killing people, until the world is protected at some level. This is not something where we can make ourselves safe and screw the world. Variants are constantly churning out from infected areas. Remember how Delta set us all back right when we thought we could take off the masks? That's just gonna keep happening until the world, including the poor, is protected.
 
2021-10-25 4:03:07 AM  
Headline is misleading.

The headline should be "African scientists attempt to reduce severity of world covid pandemic because rich countries are dropping the ball."

Covid doesn't give a damn if you are rich or poor or what side of a border you live on.  It'll infect whoever it can, while racking up mutations, some of which will be more dangerous.

Rich countries *should* be doing everything they reasonably can to push out vaccinations world-wide, regardless of how rich or poor a country is.  That's how we're going to end the pandemic - by denying it human hosts that it needs to incubate, mutate, and spread.  But instead we tell poor countries to fark off because they aren't our citizens.

And the really sad thing is that based on historical pandemics, Covid is far from the worse.  History is littered with far nastier disease outbreaks, as some new disease or new mutation literally decimates the population.  Covid is playing the game on easy mode, and yet we keep losing.

We have all this wonderful modern science that tells us how to reduce the spread of disease, medical research to quickly develop a vaccine, industrialized production to allow us to manufacture large quantities of vaccine, and fast transportation to deliver that vaccine.  And yet instead, a large percentage of people even in the US would rather skip doing anything to reduce the pandemic.

Realize that, and realize that we now have the largest human population on earth that we've ever had - over seven billion individuals, each with trillions of cells, any one of which may get infected with a novel new virus that mutates in just the perfect way to make the next deadly pandemic.  It's only a matter of when.
 
2021-10-25 4:24:47 AM  
But as we get closer to the end of 2021, most poor countries still don't have access to Moderna's shot, all while the a Massachusetts-based company is expected to make around $20 billion in revenue this year.

Capitalism - always another million dead peasants away from utopia.
 
2021-10-25 5:02:26 AM  

adamatari: "Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far."

If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is. If the piss-poor response to global heating was a bad sign, a deadly global pandemic running out of control followed by the rich countries not letting everyone make vaccines (since labs in many of these countries can make vaccines) is a final omen. International cooperation on a meaningful level to react to global crises is DEAD.

Coronavirus is gonna keep coming back, keep killing people, until the world is protected at some level. This is not something where we can make ourselves safe and screw the world. Variants are constantly churning out from infected areas. Remember how Delta set us all back right when we thought we could take off the masks? That's just gonna keep happening until the world, including the poor, is protected.


Yes but greed is more important than any of that, and poor countries prob can't pay the asking price. Doesn't matter that the effects have a way of rebounding on the greedy because greed and short-sightedness usually go hand in hand.
 
2021-10-25 5:19:25 AM  

adamatari: If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is


Id try to help you figure it out but I dont even know what you have read.
 
2021-10-25 5:22:18 AM  

mikaloyd: adamatari: If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is

Id try to help you figure it out but I dont even know what you have read.


Pretty sure he detailed this point in the bits you chose to omit from the quote there.
 
2021-10-25 5:26:45 AM  

mikaloyd: adamatari: If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is

Id try to help you figure it out but I dont even know what you have read.


Wait, I think I can help.

DAMN IT ALL!

I just damned literally everything. At the very least that sentence is at least as damning as anything you have or even can read from now on, Basicaly we have summited the Everest of damning here and we annot be bested.


You are welcome
 
2021-10-25 5:36:43 AM  
You're probably better off strengthening local vaccine manufacturing, storage, testing, and distribution infrastructure than reinventing the virus wheel here....maybe seek a low cost/free licensing agreement from one of the existing vaccines for humanitarian  distribution.

With a vaccine in hand. African countries will run into the same issues other places in the world have...hesitancy, corruption, logistical issues...development of the product is only first of many complex steps.
 
2021-10-25 5:55:30 AM  

Sasquach: You're probably better off strengthening local vaccine manufacturing, storage, testing, and distribution infrastructure than reinventing the virus wheel here....maybe seek a low cost/free licensing agreement from one of the existing vaccines for humanitarian  distribution.

With a vaccine in hand. African countries will run into the same issues other places in the world have...hesitancy, corruption, logistical issues...development of the product is only first of many complex steps.


As someone living in africa i can say that hesitancy specifically isn't nearly as big of a problem as in, say, the US. The population here and in other countries still live day to day with diseases that just aren't a thing anymore in 1st world countries and any chance to minimze such an impact is taken seriously. Masking and hand sanitizing is still in practice in full force in public spaces in the few occasions i have to go out, at least.

Not to say anti-vaxxers don't exist here, they very much do, and in the same demographic as in the US.

You're right on the other points, though, especially corruption.
 
2021-10-25 6:05:22 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


Fark user imageView Full Size


The gap keeps growing.
 
2021-10-25 6:10:11 AM  

AirForceVet: I sincerely wish them good luck and much success.

I hardily endorse that manufacturers of approved COVID-19  vaccines provided their vaccines at greatly reduced cost to poor countries.

/Milk the rich countries.
//I'm cool with that, i.e. take my money.


And that's why insulin cost $900 and epipens cost $300.
 
2021-10-25 6:23:21 AM  

NephilimNexus: But as we get closer to the end of 2021, most poor countries still don't have access to Moderna's shot, all while the a Massachusetts-based company is expected to make around $20 billion in revenue this year.

Capitalism - always another million dead peasants away from utopia.


Africa, as a destination for  MRNA vaccines that require persistent super cold refrigeration ???

Hahah
 
2021-10-25 7:02:33 AM  
Honestly, this is a good case for the govt to just take it. Let Moderna and Pfizer profit from the first world and force opening the patent for the third world. South Africa is more than capable of doing the manufacturing.
 
2021-10-25 7:08:20 AM  
Here in exceptional America, we're all getting Freedom Virus.
 
2021-10-25 7:42:17 AM  
It's called Sputnik or J&J. Nothing will be cheaper than those two.

/and work, because Chinese shiat costs less but doesn't work.
 
2021-10-25 7:42:49 AM  

Leader O'Cola: NephilimNexus: But as we get closer to the end of 2021, most poor countries still don't have access to Moderna's shot, all while the a Massachusetts-based company is expected to make around $20 billion in revenue this year.

Capitalism - always another million dead peasants away from utopia.

Africa, as a destination for  MRNA vaccines that require persistent super cold refrigeration ???

Hahah


Let me add my laughing. It can't be MRNA. Period.
 
2021-10-25 8:02:52 AM  
Can we stop conflating continents and countries? Africa is an enourmous continent with radically different languages, cultures and geographies. South Africa is one particular country on that continent. It would be like saying "Asian" scientists when it could be Russian, Indian, Japanese or Chinese or Indonesian.
 
2021-10-25 8:36:36 AM  
"Reverse engineer" it?  I thought that the whole point of a patent was that you had to declare exactly how something is made/done.  In exchange for being given a time that you can exclusively make the thing, you are contributing to the scientific knowledge of the world by showing how you did it.  That's how patents work.

You could, if you were so inclined, protect your invention as a trade secret rather than patenting it.  If you make it a trade secret, then there is no protection whatsoever against someone reverse engineering and copying it, but you don't have to advertise to the world how you did it.  The most famous example is Coca Cola - they never patented their formula (if they had, the patent would have long expired), but it's a closely guarded trade secret.  Still, if you were to reverse engineer it and ascertain their formula for yourself, it would be perfectly legal to make and sell your own soda that is chemically identical to Coke.

https://www.modernatx.com/patents is a list of Moderna's patents for their COVID-19 vaccine.  I don't understand any of this stuff, but someone who does understand this should be able to read the patents and see exactly what Moderna is doing.
 
2021-10-25 8:38:49 AM  
Remember when South Africa had the number one economy, highest GDP, strongest military on the continent and had nuclear weapons, now they can't make their own vaccines unless they steal it and try to reverse engineer it like their Chinese and Cuban Communist overlords do. They can't even get HIV under control, COVID-19 goes there to replicate and mutate, Great "real" democracy they got going now.
 
2021-10-25 8:46:03 AM  

ColonelCathcart: It's called Sputnik or J&J. Nothing will be cheaper than those two.

/and work, because Chinese shiat costs less but doesn't work.


Although the mRNA vaccines are more effective, they are difficult and expensive to make. And transporting them requires very low temperature containers.  Sputnik, J&J and AZ are all easier and cheaper to produce, use well-known technology and are less of a problem to transport.  The efforts in Africa to duplicate mRNA vaccines is a gross waste for resources, more grandstanding than helpful.
 
2021-10-25 9:01:40 AM  

adamatari: "Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far."

If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is. If the piss-poor response to global heating was a bad sign, a deadly global pandemic running out of control followed by the rich countries not letting everyone make vaccines (since labs in many of these countries can make vaccines) is a final omen. International cooperation on a meaningful level to react to global crises is DEAD.

Coronavirus is gonna keep coming back, keep killing people, until the world is protected at some level. This is not something where we can make ourselves safe and screw the world. Variants are constantly churning out from infected areas. Remember how Delta set us all back right when we thought we could take off the masks? That's just gonna keep happening until the world, including the poor, is protected.


No, the labs in those countries cannot make biologics on any reliable scale. The labs in this country can barely do it. We manage, but you have no idea how many batches get rejected for unknown reasons and how many variations have to be researched and approved on the fly by a team of PhDs during production. My wife happens to be in charge of production at one such facility and the amount of product that gets rejected and goes down the drain is staggering. This isn't simple chemistry that's involved in making most drugs and is impossible to replicate in many places due to lack of all kinds of supporting industries and knowledge.
 
2021-10-25 9:03:18 AM  

natazha: ColonelCathcart: It's called Sputnik or J&J. Nothing will be cheaper than those two.

/and work, because Chinese shiat costs less but doesn't work.

Although the mRNA vaccines are more effective, they are difficult and expensive to make. And transporting them requires very low temperature containers.  Sputnik, J&J and AZ are all easier and cheaper to produce, use well-known technology and are less of a problem to transport.  The efforts in Africa to duplicate mRNA vaccines is a gross waste for resources, more grandstanding than helpful.


I agree with you. I would 100% support a poor country reverse engineering one of the adenovirus based vaccines (or insanely expensive overpriced drugs), but trying to go for the worst option:

1) Newest tech, highest quality control needs
2) Ultra-cold storage requiring replenishing dry ice across a continent thousands of miles long with piss-poor infrastructure outside of (parts of) capital cities
 
2021-10-25 9:15:07 AM  

IDisposable: "Reverse engineer" it?  I thought that the whole point of a patent was that you had to declare exactly how something is made/done.  In exchange for being given a time that you can exclusively make the thing, you are contributing to the scientific knowledge of the world by showing how you did it.  That's how patents work.

You could, if you were so inclined, protect your invention as a trade secret rather than patenting it.  If you make it a trade secret, then there is no protection whatsoever against someone reverse engineering and copying it, but you don't have to advertise to the world how you did it.  The most famous example is Coca Cola - they never patented their formula (if they had, the patent would have long expired), but it's a closely guarded trade secret.  Still, if you were to reverse engineer it and ascertain their formula for yourself, it would be perfectly legal to make and sell your own soda that is chemically identical to Coke.

https://www.modernatx.com/patents is a list of Moderna's patents for their COVID-19 vaccine.  I don't understand any of this stuff, but someone who does understand this should be able to read the patents and see exactly what Moderna is doing.


A patent doesn't tell you the chemistry, lab set up, quality control, or anything else.
 
2021-10-25 9:15:45 AM  
Didn't Cuba already do this?
 
2021-10-25 9:16:41 AM  

NephilimNexus: But as we get closer to the end of 2021, most poor countries still don't have access to Moderna's shot, all while the a Massachusetts-based company is expected to make around $20 billion in revenue this year.

Capitalism - always another million dead peasants away from utopia.


Capitalism bad. Except that it funded the research (directly and indirectly via tax payer dollars made available due to capitalism) and allowed an almost instant ramp up of production of new biologics on a scale never seen before. Capitalism bad.
 
2021-10-25 9:22:26 AM  

kbronsito: Didn't Cuba already do this?


Not mRNA. Nobody besides Pfizer and modeRNA (it's in the name) have pulled off mRNA.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/latamcaribbea​n​/2021/03/31/cubas-five-covid-19-vaccin​es-the-full-story-on-soberana-01-02-pl​us-abdala-and-mambisa/

The five Cuban vaccines undergoing clinical trials are all protein vaccines. This means that they carry a portion of the spike protein that the virus uses to bind to human cells, which in turn generates neutralising antibodies that block this binding process.

/everyone is making the "kalashnikov" of vaccines because making the new tech is really, really hard
 
2021-10-25 9:39:32 AM  

ChubbyTiger: Honestly, this is a good case for the govt to just take it. Let Moderna and Pfizer profit from the first world and force opening the patent for the third world. South Africa is more than capable of doing the manufacturing.


It's more about expertise than patent rights. Knowing the general method of making something is very different from being able to actually produce it.

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/w​h​y-manufacturing-covid-vaccines-at-scal​e-is-hard/4013429.article
 
2021-10-25 10:03:14 AM  
So, Wakanda is not fantasy anymore?  Good to know?
images.theconversation.comView Full Size
 
2021-10-25 10:52:20 AM  

adamatari: "Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far."


And yet, anti-maskers don't want the vaccine given away to anyone, exactly like the faux outrage on other people's abortions, republicans want to stop anyone from being vaccinated.
 
2021-10-25 11:56:22 AM  
 
2021-10-25 12:10:45 PM  

AirForceVet: I sincerely wish them good luck and much success.

I hardily endorse that manufacturers of approved COVID-19  vaccines provided their vaccines at greatly reduced cost to poor countries.

/Milk the rich countries.
//I'm cool with that, i.e. take my money.


Covid doesn't care about your wallet, and it will happily jump from a poor person to a rich one.

Covid vaccination would have to be universal to eliminate the virus, so wealthy countries supplying poor ones is not charity, it is enlightened self-interest.
 
2021-10-25 1:45:10 PM  
Covid has been moving slower in poorer countries because people are simply less mobile and contact fewer people on a daily basis. Immunity to Covid (whether gained through infection or vaccination) is not very long lasting. The 'third world' can't vaccinate/booster their whole population once per year, every year, just to contain Covid. They have scarier bugs out there and they haven't maintained strong vaccination against them. Covid just isn't as big a priority.
 
2021-10-25 2:03:06 PM  

madgonad: Covid has been moving slower in poorer countries because people are simply less mobile and contact fewer people on a daily basis. Immunity to Covid (whether gained through infection or vaccination) is not very long lasting. The 'third world' can't vaccinate/booster their whole population once per year, every year, just to contain Covid. They have scarier bugs out there and they haven't maintained strong vaccination against them. Covid just isn't as big a priority.


Contact fewer people? Tell that to the millions of people living in a single city in slums across the 3rd world.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-10-25 2:05:55 PM  

astelmaszek: Capitalism bad. Except that it funded the research (directly and indirectly via tax payer dollars made available due to capitalism) and allowed an almost instant ramp up of production of new biologics on a scale never seen before. Capitalism bad.


... and clearly there is no other way to make science happen, because there were absolutely zero technological advances in the world before America arrived to show the world how everything they were doing was wrong.
 
2021-10-25 2:31:11 PM  

adamatari: "Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far."

If this isn't the most damning thing I've ever read, I don't know know what is. If the piss-poor response to global heating was a bad sign, a deadly global pandemic running out of control followed by the rich countries not letting everyone make vaccines (since labs in many of these countries can make vaccines) is a final omen. International cooperation on a meaningful level to react to global crises is DEAD.

Coronavirus is gonna keep coming back, keep killing people, until the world is protected at some level. This is not something where we can make ourselves safe and screw the world. Variants are constantly churning out from infected areas. Remember how Delta set us all back right when we thought we could take off the masks? That's just gonna keep happening until the world, including the poor, is protected.


Came here just to smart this.

It is a bad sign indeed, and it is a clear case of a situation where failure to address the COVID19 anywhere is a threat to human safety everywhere. It is a perfect analogue of climate change, with a clear solution that IS AVAILABLE TO HUMANITY, and STILL humans are not responding.

I think the lack of a cold war, or some other way to focus the attention of humanity is lacking. Something is wrong, and we are going to have to get it sorted out.
 
2021-10-25 2:34:20 PM  
Being as how the US gave the drug companies producing it literally billions to help develop it, and given any work-for-hire belongs to the government, how about the US seize all documentation on the process, and make it open to the public, so African biochemists can simply reproduce the steps?
 
2021-10-25 2:37:57 PM  

whitroth: Being as how the US gave the drug companies producing it literally billions to help develop it, and given any work-for-hire belongs to the government, how about the US seize all documentation on the process, and make it open to the public, so African biochemists can simply reproduce the steps?


"Ze Germans" would like have a problem with that:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioNT​e​ch
 
2021-10-25 3:44:42 PM  

NephilimNexus: astelmaszek: Capitalism bad. Except that it funded the research (directly and indirectly via tax payer dollars made available due to capitalism) and allowed an almost instant ramp up of production of new biologics on a scale never seen before. Capitalism bad.

... and clearly there is no other way to make science happen, because there were absolutely zero technological advances in the world before America arrived to show the world how everything they were doing was wrong.


Yes, because "capitalism" was invented in USA and did not and does not exist as the dominant economic system in majority of the world that doesn't get it's drinking water directly from latrines. Capitalism has zero to do with the problems of producing and distributing the vaccines into poor, under developed parts of the world.
 
2021-10-25 3:52:01 PM  

whitroth: Being as how the US gave the drug companies producing it literally billions to help develop it, and given any work-for-hire belongs to the government, how about the US seize all documentation on the process, and make it open to the public, so African biochemists can simply reproduce the steps?


And do what, create 5000 doses? It's not an issue of information or patents. It's multiple issues having to do with basic infrastructure. Even India with its advanced medical production industries does not deal with biologics on this level and simple cannot scale up production. Getting a single production facility is a few hundred million dollars assuming the infrastructure is in place to begin with. And what I mean by that is electricians, welders, CNC fabrication shops, IT shops, electronic technicians, etc. and so on. Then you need people to run it. And it's not a paint by numbers process. Things go wrong at every level of biologics production and you need PhD level people on manufacturing floor making constant adjustments to the process. Ask my wife why she spent Saturday at work. Bacteria like to go on strike daily.
 
2021-10-25 4:05:24 PM  

NephilimNexus: astelmaszek: Capitalism bad. Except that it funded the research (directly and indirectly via tax payer dollars made available due to capitalism) and allowed an almost instant ramp up of production of new biologics on a scale never seen before. Capitalism bad.

... and clearly there is no other way to make science happen, because there were absolutely zero technological advances in the world before America arrived to show the world how everything they were doing was wrong.


And to be fair, 99.999% of technological advancements have occurred in the last 200 years or so, with 99% of that 99.999% occurring in the last 100 years or so, almost all in capitalist nations. Hate to break it to you, but the Soviet industry was was a poor excuse for anything. And I know. I grew up under the system. Sure. They did some great science. But as far as production goes, socialism fails every time.
 
2021-10-25 4:28:17 PM  

ColonelCathcart: Contact fewer people? Tell that to the millions of people living in a single city in slums across the 3rd world.


They contact the same dozen people every day.

Compare that to here. Before Covid I would be in close proximity to dozens of people every day, same with my wife, and even more so with my kids in school.
 
2021-10-25 5:00:03 PM  

madgonad: ColonelCathcart: Contact fewer people? Tell that to the millions of people living in a single city in slums across the 3rd world.

They contact the same dozen people every day.

Compare that to here. Before Covid I would be in close proximity to dozens of people every day, same with my wife, and even more so with my kids in school.


Dozen?

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-10-25 5:13:43 PM  
US pharma company-instigated "WMD terrorist factory" drone attack in 3, 2, 1..........
 
2021-10-25 5:38:26 PM  

ColonelCathcart: Dozen?


I'm talking about regular and every day.

That train is actually a good example. Low chance of communication when clinging to the train. In the US we all cram into airplanes.
 
2021-10-25 6:19:18 PM  

madgonad: ColonelCathcart: Dozen?

I'm talking about regular and every day.

That train is actually a good example. Low chance of communication when clinging to the train. In the US we all cram into airplanes.


There's a couple hundred people stacked shoulder to shoulder inside each car. You're not winging the density argument on density.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-10-26 9:02:43 AM  

ColonelCathcart: A patent doesn't tell you the chemistry, lab set up, quality control, or anything else.


No, it doesn't.  Nor does it explain to you ... science things.  The standard is that it is supposed to give a person who is "skilled in the art" enough information to reproduce the invention.

So if your patent is for, say, computer hardware, then it should be enough informationthat a skilled computer engineer could reproduce it.  If it is for a new kind of hinge, then it should be enough information that a skilled mechanical engineer could reproduce it.  And if it's for a medication, then it should be enough that a skilled bio-engineer/scientist could reproduce it.

The article was about "reverse engineering" the vaccine - not about learning how to setup a lab.  My only point is that they shouldn't have to "reverse engineer" anything - the instructions are right there.
 
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