Opinion: Don’t let gene patents make a comeback

In January 2020, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first identified, researchers quickly sequenced its genome and uploaded it to the GenBank public database. They then raced to develop vaccines and treatments to combat Covid-19. One thing that enabled them to do so in record time was the absence of patents covering the virus and the hundreds of thousands of genetic variants that have emerged since. Without a doubt, this patent-free zone contributed to the speed at which the scientific community was able to respond to this global threat.

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