Showing posts with label genetic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genetic. Show all posts
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Bird flu strain MoU signed

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Not bad, although only an MoU it could be a good start:
Baxter International Inc. on Wednesday said it signed an agreement that could lead to a collaboration with Indonesia on the development of a bird flu vaccine, stirring controversy over the country's recent decision to stop sharing virus samples with the WorldHealthOrganization. It is the first such agreement Indonesia, the country with the most human fatalities from the H5N1 strain of avianinfluenza, has made with a foreign maker of vaccine. The "memorandum of understanding" with the Indonesian government provides "a framework for future discussions" that could lead to a formal supply agreement for pandemic vaccine. Baxter is already landing contracts to help countries, including the United States, stockpile dosages in the event of a pandemic.

An MoU is not yet binding. I wonder what the actual agreement will like. It may be difficult to attach derivative rights to the bird flu strains for financial compensation to Indonesia. If the agreement is like a supply agreement "here, you can have this strain but give us some money" then Indonesia will have no royalty share for each vaccines they create.
Got any other opinion?

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Can bird flu strains be "owned"?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Indonesia delayed the transfer of bird flu strains to WHO after an aussie company developed a vaccine out of it:
The Indonesian Government says Australian company CSL should have sought its permission to develop a bird flu vaccine using the Indonesian strain of the H5N1 virus. But news this week that the Australian pharmaceuticals company CSL had developed a vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus was met with alarm by Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari. She says Indonesia is seeking intellectual property rights over the Indonesian strain of the virus on which the vaccine is based.

If the case is about some Indonesian plants or animals, I am certain that there could be some protection granted by one of intellectual property treaties currently in force -- if Indonesia is a party to the treaty. However, I don't think it is the case when virus is involved. I don't think bird flu strains per se can be subjected to IPR protection. If, on the other hand, someone decode the strains, they might be able to obtain IPR protection. The code could be protected but the sample cannot!

NY Times said:
A spokeswoman for Indonesia’s Health Ministry told Reuters yesterday that the country “cannot share samples for free.” “There should be rules of the game for it,” said the spokeswoman, Lily Sulistyowati. “Just imagine, they could research, use and patent the Indonesia strain.” The Financial Times reported the move by Indonesia yesterday; the country has not released a flu sample since late last year.

True, they can obtain IPR protection from it. But the strain itself is noneother but a raw information. What the law gives is the protection after the information is processed.

While there may not be any case for IPR protection toward bird flu strain, holding the sample from being released is a legal thing. But, what would be the benefit for Indonesia?