Companies won’t share COVID-19 shots, stalling future vaccine research

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 11:07 in Health & Medicine

The U.S. government has tens of millions of unused doses of messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines, regularly trashing shots as they pass their expiration dates. It’s a dismal reflection on recent vaccine uptake, but it’s also a serious roadblock for scientists testing and developing vaccines that could protect against future variants of SARS-CoV-2—and the next pandemic. Developers need existing vaccines as a benchmark to compare with new candidates. But government contracts with the vaccinemakers, and the companies’ own policies, prohibit the use of the vaccines for research purposes. “At this stage of the game, with millions of vaccines on the verge of being thrown away, this seems crazy,” says Nicole Lurie, U.S. director of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The situation is so dire that one startup has created mimics of the mRNA vaccines in use...

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