Skip to content

Moderna, WHO Set for Vaccine Clash as Patents Threaten mRNA Use

  • Similar patents rejected or lapsed in China, Australia: MSF
  • South Africa is site of WHO’s mRNA Technology Transfer Hub
Bottles containing raw materials for messenger RNA (mRNA).

Bottles containing raw materials for messenger RNA (mRNA).

Photographer: Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg

Moderna Inc. is heading for a clash with the South African government and the World Health Organization over patent claims that vaccine advocates say could threaten the continent’s access to Covid-19 shots.

Medecins Sans Frontiers and other health and relief groups are calling on the vaccine-maker to abandon three patent applications filed years ago in South Africa, saying they could impede a WHO-backed effort to make messenger RNA shots for low-income countries at a hub in Cape Town.