• Dr. Niti Dewan and Ashima Sobti

We don’t know when our lives will be back to “Normal”. But it is certain that nothing much will change until humans develop herd immunity, the virus mutates into an innocuous strain, or we have a vaccine.
Yes, pharma companies and research institutions are trying their best to create vaccines or drugs to reduce the effects of the virus. Still further, other entities are involved in creating immunity boosters to build up the immunity of humans, so that the virus can be contained.
However, usually, it takes years to develop any medicine, but this period is too long a pause for our economy and our health. What can be done under such circumstances? Pharma companies, research institutions, health workers, hospitals must all come together to participate in a Medicinal Patent Pool!

What is a Patent Pool?
A Patent pool is a consortium of two or more entities agreeing to license their patents to one another or to any third party. The need for a patent pool arises when the development of a technology of a complex nature gets stuck as it requires multiple patents and these patents or patent applications are owned by a diverse group of people. The new technology needs inputs from various sources to create a productive technical solution and achieve fruition.

And how does that help in the present Covid situation?
Entities can opt for a “medicine patent pool” and negotiate with patent holders to obtain licenses for developing and marketing medicines, sanitizing products & medical devices like ventilators, HazMat suits, etc. A patent pool is the coming together of diverse minds, experts in their own fields, who will be able to quickly provide solutions in a cost-effective manner. These entities can include large multinational organizations, small companies including startups, research departments of academic institutes and even individual scientists. 

How can these entities come together?
For this purpose, a medicinal patent pool was formed. On 31st March 2020, the board of the medicines patent pool has announced to commit a significant investment for innovative treatment, diagnostics, and respiratory triage tools as part of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The medicinal patent pool decided to work collaboratively through existing mechanisms for voluntary pooling and licensing of patents and is looking forward to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), the member states and other key stakeholders to make the initiative possible. That’s a great and excellent idea… Let us hope inventors all over the world will pool whatever patents possible to drown the effects of Coronavirus… forever!!


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