NIH Licenses COVID-19 Research Tools and Early-Stage Technologies to WHO Program
Today at the second Global COVID-19 Summit, President Biden announced that the Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), has licensed 11 COVID-19 research tools and early-stage vaccine and diagnostic candidates to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) through the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). The licenses will allow manufacturers from all around the world to work with MPP and C-TAP to use these technologies for the potential development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics to benefit people living in low- and middle-income countries. Included in the technologies licensed is the SARS-CoV-2 stabilized spike protein—a patented invention included in multiple COVID-19 vaccines.
C-TAP aims to boost global supply of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics for COVID-19 by facilitating the sharing of intellectual property, knowledge, and data with quality-assured manufacturers that have capacity to scale up production. NIH scientists regularly make discoveries—both patented and unpatented—that can be transferred to the private sector for further research and development and eventual commercialization. While NIH has already granted nonexclusive licenses to companies for use of the SARS-CoV-2 stabilized spike protein, making this and other technologies available through C-TAP will facilitate even wider access.
“Controlling COVID-19 globally and addressing future public health threats is only possible if all communities, including the most vulnerable, have access to lifesaving treatments, vaccines and diagnostics,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Sharing our scientific knowledge and health technologies with C-TAP to foster the development of crucial medical countermeasures is another step we are taking to assist our global partners in our shared fight against this devastating disease.”
“NIH scientists have developed innovative COVID-19 research tools, vaccines and diagnostics. While NIH cannot commercialize these early-stage technologies, we can share our knowledge wherever feasible to support our global partners,” said Acting NIH Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S. “NIH’s contributions to C-TAP provide a piece of the technology puzzle to help global manufacturers advance development of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. I hope NIH’s actions will inspire other rights holders to do the same.”