Behind a veil of corporate media PR, the Gates Foundation has served as a vehicle for Western capital while exploiting the Global South as a human laboratory. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to intensify this disturbing agenda.
Holmes traded out two stocks a week later, on Jan. 29, then on Feb. 27 made two purchases that could prove advantageous in the weeks ahead: Holmes purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 of stock in each of two more companies, the pharmaceutical company Gilead, Inc. — which makes remdesivir, a drug that is currently being tested to treat coronavirus — and wipe manufacturer Clorox.
But despite being competitors, the companies’ CEOs seem to have quite a good relationship and consider each other collaborators rather than enemies. Every year, they organize an mRNA conference together that takes turns between Boston and Berlin to bring together all the stakeholders in the field. It was at this year’s edition, in Berlin, that I had the chance to bring them together for an interview regarding the future of mRNA therapies.
The trials will be held at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Testing will involve 45 young, healthy volunteers and it uses Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine.
„Unlike a normal vaccine, RNA vaccines work by introducing an mRNA sequence (the molecule which tells cells what to build) which is coded for a disease-specific antigen, once produced within the body, the antigen is recognized by the immune system, preparing it to fight the real thing,“ according to the University of Cambridge.
In January 2020, CEPI funded three teams working on a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, being: Moderna, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and the University of Queensland (UQ). By February 2020, Inovio announced that it had produced a pre-clinical DNA-based vaccination to fight COVID-19 at its lab in San Diego. Inovio collaborated with a Chinese firm to speed its acceptance by regulatory authorities in China for human trialing. The strategy of the UQ team is to develop a molecular clamp vaccine that genetically modifies viral proteins to make them mimic the coronavirus and stimulate an immune reaction.
In January 2020, CEPI announced a fourth SARS-CoV-2 project in a collaboration with their existing partner CureVac, to develop and manufacture a vaccine.
CureVac in 2015 and 2018 secured financial backing for development projects from its investor the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working on shots to prevent malaria and influenza.
In the field of so-called mRNA therapeutics, CureVac competes with U.S. biotech firm Moderna and German rival BioNTech, which Pfizer has identified as a potential collaboration partner.
According to the AP, the trial will start testing 45 young, healthy participants with different doses of the vaccine, which was developed by both the NIH and Moderna Inc.
CEPI is a global partnership of public, private and philanthropic organizations; it’s also supporting efforts at the biotech companies Moderna and CureVac.
Even in the rosiest of scenarios, Hatchett says, once the vaccine is in hand, it still needs to get to the people who need it, and that takes time — at least weeks to months, depending on the urgency.