WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health today announced a collaborative research agreement with South African manufacturer Afrigen. The agreement will support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mRNA Hub Technology Transfer Program. NIAID pioneered the use of mRNA and co-invented the world’s most effective COVID vaccine, NIH-Moderna. Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines director for Public Citizen, issued the following statement:
“These are partnerships the world needs to sustain sharing of the latest science and technology, and to help give countries equitable access to the best medical tools. Failure to share technology contributed to extreme shortages of COVID vaccines, tests, and treatments, and imposed a deadly injustice that much of the world will remember for generations.
“NIAID’s expertise and global reputation can help hub partners solve scientific challenges and draw further support from leading governments – and perhaps, eventually, from pharmaceutical corporations. NIAID scientists will join vaccine scientists of global reputation – inspired by and contributing to the hub program and learning from COVID mistakes to build a more equitable future.
“Pharmaceutical corporations must provide deep technology transfer. Leading governments must provide funding and logistical support to help establish a distributed network of global manufacturers. Scientists are leading the way. Perhaps political leaders will follow.”