Amazing Discovery at the NYT: Drugs and Vaccines Can be Developed Without Patent Monopolies

April 01, 2020

The paper had a short piece touting the unprecedented level of international cooperation and open-sourcing of results surrounding efforts to develop effective vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. Scientists are quickly posting their findings on the web and not worrying about publications and patent claims.

This is a fantastic development and will almost certainly lead to far more rapid progress in treating and containing the disease. It also should be a lesson for the benefits of open science. There is no reason this sort of international cooperation should not be the standard practice, not only in treating medical problems, but also in developing clean technologies to combat global warming, and developing better crops to combat hunger, and a wide variety of other areas.

Yes, scientists need to be paid, and we can do that as they do their work, through institutions like the National Institutes of Health. The money can even be parceled out through private companies, but the condition is that all results are made public as soon as practical and patents are put in the public domain. (Better yet, if the research has already been disclosed it should not be patentable.)

Anyhow,  we know the drug, medical equipment, and chemical industries will hate this one and of course, intellectual types have difficulties with new ideas.



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