Moderna has identified an Indian-born scientist as the main contributor to its COVID-19 vaccine.
The company that filed its patent application for the coronavirus vaccine using the revolutionary RNA technique has listed Pune-trained bioinformatics scientist Mihir Metkar as the “first named inventor”, a designation that generally recognizes the main contributor to the invention.
He is also listed as one of the inventors of two other COVID-19 vaccine patent applications filed by Moderna with the U.S. Patent Office.
Moderna is part of the new class of vaccines that use messenger RNA (mRNA) that causes the body to create certain proteins similar to those of the COVID-19 virus and triggers the body’s immune system to make antibodies that will fight the coronavirus s ‘it invades the body. (Conventional vaccines use either dead viruses or parts thereof, or an altered version of the gene from a different virus).
Metkar’s identification as the “first named inventor” appears in Moderna’s filing challenging the US government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) claim that its scientists should also be credited as inventors of the vaccine, which was developed in collaboration with him. and with $1.53 billion provided by former President Donald Trump’s administration under the Operation Warp Speed program to rapidly produce vaccines.
Vladimir Presnyak and Guillaume Stewart-Jones appear after him in the original patent application.
Metkar received his MS degree from Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, Savitribai University Phule Pune and worked at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune as a Project Assistant before coming to the United States, according to his LinkedIn profile. .
He did his doctorate at the RNA Therapeutics Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and worked there as a postdoctoral fellow before joining Moderna in 2018, according to the profile.
In a separate patent filing, Moderna listed Sunny Himansu, an MBBS degree holder, as one of two inventors of the betacoronavirus vaccine.
Moderna’s vaccine is one of two major vaccines in the United States, and about 164 million doses have been administered so far in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Additionally, millions of people have been vaccinated in Europe and elsewhere with the Moderna vaccine.
The other main vaccine used in the United States is Pfizer-Biotech, which was developed in Germany and uses mRNA.
Johnson & Johnson’s third vaccine is also used in the United States. It was developed by J&J’s Jansen Pharmaceutical, whose global head of research and development is Mathai Mammen.
The patent document naming Metkar as the “first named inventor” was filed on Moderna’s behalf by an intellectual property law firm that claimed that the three NIH scientists who collaborated with them should not be considered as co-inventors as requested by the NIH.
If NIH scientists are recognized as co-inventors, NIH and the government may be entitled to receive a share of royalties from the use of the patents and also be able to allow others to manufacture the vaccine.
An NGO, Public Citizen, pointed out in a letter to the head of the NIH that co-ownership of the patent “may empower the US government to authorize” other manufacturers around the world to use some of the patents to manufacture the vaccine.
The group said that with “huge gaps in global access to vaccines”, the need for government to exercise control over vaccine technology “only becomes more urgent”.
The above article was published by a news agency with minimal changes to the title and text.