as we talk about the morality of vaccine patents
i think it is a nice time to also remember historical precident
jonas salk did not patent the polio vaccine. he went out of his way to make sure it was not patented.
he never got rich. he actively made sure he didn't get rich off of it.
but that history is full of stories about how for the rest of his life, jonas salk did not have to ever pay for a beer in any bar in this country. he would get on airplanes and once somebody recognized his name, the entire damn plane would stand up and clap for him. he constantly had hotel rooms comped, meals for free at restaurants, thus and so.
because he was surrounded by people who knew he had saved their children from having to ever consider the fear of an iron lung, and were overwhelmingly grateful for it.
he was always modest and demure when recognized thusly. but i think that when people start saying "well why else would someone make a vaccine, if not to get paid for it and hold the patent", i think it is good to remember these stories. the world did not punish jonas salk for not patenting the polio vaccine. the world loved him for it. maybe not in the structures that billionaires are most used to. but they did love him for it, in small ways, in humble ways, on the individual level.
there was also apparently legal questions of "but we're using everybody's research, can we even patent this thing?" that went into the decision to just not patent it
and i think you could very convincingly make a similar case for the covid-19 vaccine, as there was a great effort to pool resources and data to get a solution as quickly as possible
...now if only somebody had enough money to hire enough fancy lawyers to ominously shake that particular can full of pennies at the situation
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