Look Mom, No Patents: Cheap Test for Cervical Cancer Developed With Public Funding

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Sunday, 02 June 2013 20:09

Great story in the Washington Post (in the sense of very good news) about the successful trial in India of a cheap vinegar test for cervical cancer. According to the article this cheap and easy to administer test can substantially increase the early detection of this cancer. This test can save the lives of tens of thousands of women in India and elsewhere in the developing world who do not have access to more expensive tests.

An interesting and important sidebar is that it seems that this test was developed with support from the National Institutes of Health and an Indian non-profit. This perhaps should not be surprising, but many advocates of patent supported research insist that people become stupid when they get public funding. The success of this test, which holds the promise of enormous gains in public health, shows again that it is possible to have innovations that do not depend on patent support.