Ebola and IP: Are Patent Laws Helping or Hurting the Fight Against Ebola?

By Nathaniel DeLucia

As the fight against Ebola continues, with some 9,216 reported cases worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to look for new ways to combat the disease.  The WHO has been using the anti-bodies from Ebola survivors and traditional anti-virals to try and contain the disease.  Additionally, the WHO is considering the implementation of vaccines, which were quickly developed by pharmaceutical companies.  These vaccines, if they prove to be as effective as initially suspected, could dramatically slow the spread of Ebola.  The problem is the cost.  These vaccines are the intellectual property of their respective companies, who often own several patents on them.  The challenge for the WHO is to work with international grant and licensing companies to try and acquire these vaccines at a lower price.

For the complete story on the tension between patent laws and the need for cheap medicine to fight Ebola, check out IP-Watch’s article, here.