The companies behind two of America’s most widely used covid-19 vaccines are at loggerheads. Despite promising publicly not to enforce covid-19-related patents until the pandemic was over, Moderna, an American drugmaker, filed claims on August 26th against Pfizer, another American firm, and BioNTech, its German partner, in American and German courts. The dispute is over elements of the messenger rna (mrna) technology used by the firms to make their jabs. CureVac, another German pharmaceutical firm, also began legal action against BioNTech in July. The floodgates have opened for intellectual-property squabbles between vaccine-makers.
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Covid-19 jabs will soon be commercialised in America when the government ceases to be the main buyer and sales switch to the private sector, making claims about ownership of…