Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, thousands of researchers across the world have spent months attempting to find a cure and vaccine. Currently, there is no vaccine available and the only way to remain healthy and safe is to avoid COVID-19 transmission through social distancing, personal protective equipment, and quarantining. In terms of the current treatment, most healthcare providers have been using respirators to assist COVID-19 patients in breathing, as there is no promising cure yet.
Aside from COVID-19 affecting the daily operations of many firms, the coronavirus has also had an immense impact on intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry. As a growing number of people become casualties of COVID-19, the discussion of potential ethical responsibilities that pharmaceutical and biotech companies hold become more pressing to help protect those who are most vulnerable. The question of whether businesses should bundle their patents for COVID-19 research and development efforts is highly contested.
Should the owners of drug patents release their IP to expand the research of drugs and vaccines to cure COVID-19? The answers vary, depending on the country and company.
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