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Category Archives: Medicine

US supports vaccine patent waiver proposal at World Trade Organization

CNN: “The Biden administration, in a major decision Wednesday, said it would support easing patent rules on Covid-19 vaccines after intense internal debate and strong pushback from American drugmakers, potentially expanding the global supply and narrowing the vaccination gap between rich and poor nations. The move is preliminary and will not guarantee the global patent rules are lifted right away. But the Biden administration’s signal of support amounts to a major step that aid groups and Democrats had been pressing for. “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement…”

BBC – Covid: US backs waiver on vaccine patents to boost supply…Intellectual property describes creations, such as inventions, which are protected by patents, copyrights and trademarks. These prevent copying and allow the originator to be financially rewarded. Patents give innovating firms a short-term monopoly on production to cover the costs of development and encourage investment. Biotech firms argue that such protection has provided incentives to produce Covid vaccines in record times. Many developing countries have argued that rules requiring countries to protect patents and other forms of intellectual property are an obstacle to increasing the production of vaccines and other products needed to tackle the pandemic. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, called the US decision “historic” and said it marked “a monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19”. The medical NGO, MSF – Doctors Without Borders – said the move would “increase sufficient and timely access to these lifesaving medical tools as Covid-19 continues to ravage countries across the globe.”..

The New York Times – “Biden’s Support for Vaccine Patent Waivers Faces Uphill Effort in Europe. The European Union said it was considering the proposal but did not endorse it. Germany said that the move could undermine the production of vaccines, deterring E.U. consideration of the plan…”

It’s time to consider a patent reprieve for COVID vaccines

Nature Editorial – “The world needs around 11 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to immunize 70% of the world’s population, assuming two doses per person. As of last month, orders had been confirmed for 8.6 billion doses, a remarkable achievement. But some 6 billion of these will go to high- and upper-middle-income countries. Poorer nations… Continue Reading

Libraries and Pandemics: Past and Present

JSTOR: “The 1918 influenza pandemic had a profound impact on how librarians do their work, transforming libraries into centers of community care. In 1918, World War I was coming to a close, and widespread changes were afoot. It was in some ways a moment similar to today: rapid technological development brought sweeping changes to workplaces… Continue Reading

All about your coronavirus vaccine card (and what to do if you lose it)

Washington Post – “There are various ways to document that you received a coronavirus vaccine. Some people have snapped selfies proudly displaying the Band-Aid on their upper arm. Some vaccination sites are handing out stickers. But the official form of documentation is the small white vaccination record card issued by the Centers for Disease Control… Continue Reading

Long Covid isn’t as unique as we thought

Vox: “…The dominant narrative about long Covid has been that it’s a uniquely perplexing feature of Covid-19. Reports of “Covid brain fog” or “Covid dementia,” for example, suggest a disturbing and extraordinary ability of the coronavirus to destroy the lives of survivors. Even a year later, some patients are still struggling to return to work… Continue Reading

Your post-vaccination travel questions, answered

Vox – Can Americans travel right now? Kind of. Should Americans travel right now? That’s more complicated…”There’s been a lot of debate about the ethics of traveling right now. While some borders are technically open, it raises concerns about bringing Covid-19 to different countries and possibly infecting locals. Early on in the pandemic, for example,… Continue Reading

How to Recognize Scam Sites That ‘Help’ You Schedule Your Vaccine

lifehacker – “As vaccine supply struggles to meet demand, grassroots social media groups known as “vaccine hunters” have sprung up all over the country, helping people find and book appointments. As helpful as these groups can be, they’ve also become the new favorite target for scammers. Here’s how you can protect yourself. How vaccine hunter… Continue Reading