The Pandemic Heroes Who Gave us the Gift of Time and Gift of Information

Moderna’s vaccine was apparently designed in just a few days, over a weekend, after the genetic sequence became available on January 10th, 2020.

Here’s why that date matters: the sequence was published ten days before China acknowledged the severity of the problem by admitting sustained human-to-human transmission and shutting down the city of Wuhan, on January 20th. The sequence was published while China—and the WHO, which depended on China for information—were still downplaying what was going on, in their official statements. The sequence wasn’t published in an official document. Instead, it was published independently in an open-source depository by Yong-Zhen Zhang, a professor at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and School of Public Health.

HN discussion:

@dredmorbius imagine what could be done if all the tech around the vaccines was not proprietary

eg, they use patented lipids to encapsulate the mRNA, which only they understand fully probably.. and differences in those are why the cold chain reqs are different for the different vaccines

if this was open, it would be much better understood, easier to deploy widely, and perhaps regulators could find ways to safely speed up approvals

@joeyh Another though is the risk of having the genome widely available, though that's a moot point at present.

Patents-as-deadweight-on-society needs far more sunshine.

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