Big Pharma Health International Pandemic

Big Pharma Secrets Revealed as Group Uncovers Portion of Pfizer Vaccine Recipe

"This leaked contract teaches the world more about how to make mRNA vaccines than anything done by rich countries so far."
Microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020. ( Governor Tom Wolf/ Flickr)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

While combing through a leaked contract published earlier this year by an Italian broadcaster, the U.S.-based consumer advocacy group Public Citizen identified a component of Pfizer-BioNTech’s secretive coronavirus vaccine recipe—a discovery that could help manufacturers around the world replicate the lifesaving shot.

The document (pdf) analyzed by Public Citizen is an agreement that the European Commission reached with Pfizer and BioNTech last November to purchase 100 million doses of the companies’ mRNA vaccine, which was developed with the support of government funding and U.S. taxpayer-financed technology.

In the 104-page contract, Public Citizen found a list of manufacturing specifications for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including particular composition and strength, identity, and purity requirements followed throughout the production process.

“This info can help mRNA vaccine scientists by illustrating the kinds of requirements they need to meet critical quality standards,” said Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at Public Citizen who authored the group’s analysis of the contract.

Rizvi pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently “trying to teach developing countries how to make mRNA vaccines and could desperately use help.”

“This leaked contract teaches the world more about how to make mRNA vaccines than anything done by rich countries so far,” he argued.

Pfizer vaccine recipe

Public Citizen emphasized in its analysis Wednesday that the manufacturing details laid out in the contract represent “just a small fraction of the information about COVID vaccines that rich countries currently possess.”

The group explained:

As part of the regulatory process, manufacturers submit chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) data. This contains the vaccine recipe. In addition to specifications, it includes information about chemical characteristics; methods of manufacture, including raw material sources; flow charts of the manufacturing process, complete with a list of all tests performed at each step; process controls; drug substance batch records; and drug product master production records. In the U.S., the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Department of Defense have access to this information under vaccine development contracts

In exchange for reasonable compensation to originator corporations, governments should release the information they hold.

Speaking to the Washington Post on Wednesday, Rizvi specifically called on the Biden administration to “help the world produce more vaccines by sharing the rest of the vaccine recipe.”

Despite pressure to do so from public health advocates and a leading National Institutes of Health scientist who helped develop key vaccine technology, the Biden administration has thus far declined to compel pharmaceutical giants to share their recipes and technological know-how with low-income countries.

The global humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders—known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)—estimates that at least seven manufacturers on the African continent “currently meet the prerequisites to produce mRNA vaccines, if all necessary technology and training were openly shared.”

But Pfizer and Moderna, the makers of the two available mRNA vaccines, have refused to voluntarily participate in technology-sharing efforts facilitated by the WHO, leaving developing countries largely without access to the shots. Just 2% of the more than 5.7 billion total coronavirus vaccine doses administered thus far have gone to people in Africa, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This doesn’t only hurt the people of Africa, it hurts all of us,” Tedros said in a statement Tuesday. “The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective.”

As Reuters reported earlier this week, ongoing “efforts to develop an African base for Covid-19 vaccine production will focus on trying to replicate Moderna’s shot, but a lack of progress in talks with the U.S. company mean the project will take time.”

“Moderna said last October it would not enforce patents related to its shot during the pandemic, raising hopes that other companies might be able to copy it and help boost Covid-19 vaccine production,” Reuters noted. “In practice, though, it is hard to replicate a vaccine without the information on how it is made, and the World Health Organization-backed tech transfer hub in South Africa—set up in June to give poorer nations the know-how to produce Covid-19 vaccines—has so far not reached a deal with the company.”

Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, said Wednesday that “Pfizer and Moderna endanger the world’s pandemic response by blocking access to the knowledge to make mRNA vaccines.”

“Scientists worldwide, with the right tools and support, could help make many more vaccine doses—but not if basic manufacturing standards are held as corporate secrets,” Maybarduk added.

The pharmaceutical industry has also lobbied aggressively against a patent waiver proposal first introduced at the World Trade Organization last October by India and South Africa. The waiver, which a handful of rich countries are stonewalling, would temporarily suspend intellectual property protections that are barring manufacturers around the world from replicating existing vaccines.

“It’s unconscionable that wealthy governments are reducing lifesaving healthcare to a tradeable commodity and using their power at the WTO to make the right to health subservient to pharma and trade interests,” Aruna Kashyap, associate business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Tuesday.

In its new analysis, Public Citizen observed that “manufacturers in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have expressed interest in producing mRNA vaccines.”

“Sharing information can help ramp up COVID vaccine production. Sharing information can also advance mRNA science by allowing scientists to quickly learn from each other’s work,” the group said. “Indeed, the development of safe and effective mRNA vaccines builds on decades of scientific discoveries across many different institutions. Secrecy makes us less safe against this virus—and future pandemic threats.”

6 comments

  1. I don’t see anything about how poorly the animals did on the mRNA trials and the fact that the vaccine for human use was not passed for good reason for over 20 years before it was put forth for emergency use when the Covid 19 variety came to the US in 2020. That’s quite a windfall for the corporations involved with making this vaccine, especially in our disease-for-profit USA.

  2. So go the vaccines withheld from the poorer nations in effort to profit as much as possible from disaster and disease; so goes the efforts at addressing climate change, no cooperation, no sharing of responsibility, no idea that we are all in this together. Heh, death, this capitalistic nation is your forever lover, via war, disease, and unchecked climate change. Way to go America, land of the milked, land of fleeced. Let’s get rich, elite buds, off of Disaster Capitalism. Don’t you see the opportunity in all this suffering. BTW: Only those loaded with cash will get early treatments for Covid because they are the only ones who can afford to pay. And we are going to make certain that the poor man’s early covid treatments are taken off the market so we can produce something more expensive to fleece you with. You’re gonna be sorry, America, you let medicine become privatized. Expect a milking for the rest of your life as climate change increases and 50 years of environmental toxins settle into lungs, kidneys, heart and liver. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z_W3yRA9I8

    1. Why was the VAERS data not addressed? Have you investigated the dark side of these vaccine roll outs? Treatments are being suppressed and physicians censored and prevented from helping their patients so a fast tracked poorly studied remedy can be offered as the only answer. Giving vaccines that are not “safe and effective” to people that are food and housing insecure with their water poisoned by large corporations might be viewed as the last assault rather than a humanitarian gift.

      1. The VAERS data has been quite strong all along, by any measure… unless you believe that COVID 19 is not actually killing people and that the world’s medical professionals, even in countries that are enemies of the West, are all systematically ignoring magic cures. Which then puts you squarely in loonyville.

  3. This is sickening. A global pandemic and Greed and desire for the Almighty Dollar takes precedence over saving lives. I’m totally disgusted with Big PIG Pharma.

  4. The vaccines are crap. They are leaky has hell…don’t offer herd immunity, with an effectiveness that fades quickly over time, and is experimental with many experiencing side effects. It offers 1/20 of the effective protection of natural immunity…the only thing they are truly good at is making huge profits for the drug manufactures and giving an excuse to the madmen who rule to impose ever increasing totalitarian measures that will never be rolled back.

    I watched a video discussion on the Jimmy Dore show with the pioneer of mRNA vaccines named Robert Malone who explained it quite clearly and authoritatively. I recommend if you are unclear on this subject to search him out and listen to someone who actually knows and doesn’t have a capitalist fascist agenda. (If they haven’t already censored it yet.)

    Don’t play their game…it’s rigged and you will always lose. Start a new game, with new rules.

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