jueves, 21 de mayo de 2020

Gilead: Gobierno EE. UU. contribuyó con investigación a patente remdesivir sin obtener crédito

Two documents dating back to 2015 shed further light on the role the federal government played in discovering remdesivir and its use in treating coronaviruses — work that has taken on new meaning as the Gilead Sciences  drug has gained global attention and an emergency use authorization from federal regulators to treat patients with Covid-19.

The first document was an application filed in September 2015 in which Gilead sought a U.S. patent for a using the compound for any number of coronavirus infections. Although the code Gilead assigned to the compound – GS-5734 – does not appear in the body of the application, experts who have reviewed the chemical structure say the compound is remdesivir. And Gilead could take that patent, which was issued last year, to the bank if its medicine ever becomes a viable business proposition for treating Covid-19 or any other illness.

One month later, some of the same Gilead employees whose names appeared on the patent application were listed as co-authors on a Nature research paper – along with numerous government scientists – showing remdesivir, specifically, held promise in fighting Ebola and other coronaviruses. The paper also noted testing was conducted at high-risk security labs run by the federal government.

The role played by the federal government in developing remdesivir to combat coronaviruses has, in fact, involved various grants to universities, as well as contributions from government personnel at such agencies as the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, according to Knowledge Ecology International, an advocacy group that first disclosed these connections.

But while it remains unclear the extent to which federal funds contributed to the R&D, the patent is of particular interest because it is tangible evidence that government work yielded something of potential financial value to the company. Yet government employees are not listed as inventors, which one expert suggested should be corrected, especially in an era when federally financed research might be leveraged to collect royalties or, arguably, lower the price of medicines.

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