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tv   Washington Journal Jeremy Levin  CSPAN  May 11, 2021 1:55pm-2:16pm EDT

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think there's some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of globalcompetition with china . >> thank you very much gentlemen for those conversations and to the mccain forum. congressman heard, it'sgreat talking to you . >> the senate in recess until 2:15 easter lawmakers just voted to confirm andrea pump to be deputy health and human services secretary. they voted to limit debate on cynthia martin to be deputy education secretary and they returned the resume to make her nomination and will hold the confirmation vote 2:30 eastern. watch live coverage of the summit you're on c-span2. >> there with doctor jeremy 11, chair of the biotechnology innovation organizations and also ceo of a therapeutics here to talk about vaccine manufacturing and patent rights. let's just remind our viewers the biotechnology innovation organization is . >> good morning.
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the biotechnology innovation organization is an organization of about 1000 companies and our focus is really how do we drive access to patients for new medicines and secondarily how do we drive innovation that really is underpinning all of the biotechnology and biotechnology is a whole new science of 30 years of building technologies help people find medicine. we spend our time at the organization focused on these two things. discussing it with congress, helping the congress or senate, president and others tounderstand the failure of this and as one of the most important point about it , it's that this industry delivers about 70 percent of neall the new medicines in the world and so it's really an important part of american
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industrial infrastructure. >> your reaction to the biden administration announcing that they support leaving the intellectual protection for covid-19 vaccines. this is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic calls forextraordinary measures . the administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections but in service of ending this pandemic , supports the waiver of those protections for covid-19 vaccines. what is the impact of this on the biotech industry? >> a more important question is what is the impact of this on individuals on on the pandemic. weight and patents doesn't stop pandemic. what you have to do is get shot into arms. as fast as is possible. now, when you wave the
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patents, that's only a tiny step along a very long journey. we could estimate roughly it would take at least 18 months before any kind of waiver if it were enacted and it's not s clear that it will be. would have any impact around the rest of the world. if we have a hope of stopping this pandemic, what we need to do is to ramp up immediately production in those facilities that are high quality, know what they're doing, don't have to reinvent, train people on otherwise and then ensure that we in the united states can export these vaccines at a price that is affordable for those abroad. that's what will make a difference. waving the patent won't do it. you have to build the plant, you have to train the people,
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you have to actually then set in place a very complicated supply chain. how you get the different components of the vaccine to the factory. and then last of all don't forget the vaccine that we're using must prominently in the united states are those by pfizer. they're very effective, doing their job and the bottom line is they also require what's called cold chain, cold chain means that you have to keep these vaccines at lower temperatures which means you kind to have the right of refrigerators. i can't imagine that in the middle east and africa, in asia if anybody has set up a quality and capability to distribute these types of vaccines even if they could manufacture them in time they cannot. so bottom line here, it's a patent waiver itself represents a disappointing
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step. one which will confuse people and one that will give them hope. it's effectively up also. a better way to go is to ramp up manufacturing here and get the shots into arms immediately. >> how much money did these companies spend on research for these vaccines. and how much money could they potentially lose by waving, lifting of these intellectual patents. >> first of all, these new ir vaccines didn't, at in one instance. it wasn't any one individual company built the underlying understanding. billions of dollars invested in the industry over 20 to 30 years. which have led to the capability last year when suddenly the pandemic washed over us. all of that very intensive
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investments that's gone over many years was brought to fruition by the particular companies. >> .. spirit subsequently, the investments by private investors in both pfizer and also in moderna vaccine and biotech these led to what is called the mrna vaccine, j&j itself
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launched a vaccine approach and that vaccine approach was built on years of investment. it is a different kind of vaccine but j&j had been investing for years in vaccines and so it knew how it could come to the table with a similar vaccine. with regard to the loss of what it might mean for the top line of these companies, it is not clear because in october of last year already moderna vaccine had said they would be willing to waive patents and willing to license and willing to provide vaccines to others. it is not at all clear what they will lose in the long term. in the short-term the industry suffered because what happens is that people lose confidence that their investments in other companies, cancer companies, diabetes companies and others where they are making novel
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breakthroughs in the same kind that we see here that have occurred in the pandemic and what you see is that investors take a double look and say wait a second, why would i invest in a company that suddenly the government is going to step in and take away those patents which allow me to at least have the certainty that we are investing in something that could give us a good return long term. it's not clear how much because it's incalculable at the end of the day. the short-term uncertainties could cause companies to slow down research and good causese others to sibley say i don't want to invest in this area. that would be disappointing. i think actually what's really important is that we understand what we are trying to a compass year which is shots in the arm. >> a tweet from a viewer. india has a robust pharmaceutical industry. if they had waivers they could
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probably start manufacturing rapidly. >> many countries don't have this. you have countries like china, japan, india, russia, the european union and of course, they have the ability to take this on and of course they have the ability to start to manufacture and there is no doubt about that. the real question is will they be able to do it in time and will they be able to get shots in arms when in actual fact we have already running a vast capacity in this country and that we could get it to them. pandemics don't wait for anybody. in addition to whichch let's asa different question. what about the other countries?i china has, for a long time, tried to get its hands on this technology. why are we trying to provide to
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a nation that has been trying to get this technology from us on a plate , a technology which effectively is core to the united states strategic assets with biotechnology industry. for that matter russia who when they produce their vaccine proceeded toce send out all sors of messages denigrating other vaccines so now were going to give them this one? no, the better way to do it is to manufacture billions of doses in this country and get it out to the other countries immediately rather than take american investors money, american know-how and send it abroad. >> i want to encourage our viewers to start dialing in this morning. we will take your questions and comments about thes vaccine and the science behind it. doctor jeremy leven front page of the newspaper this morning, age limit lowered for pfizer vaccines and this is the russian washington post. fda has approved use for use
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12-15. what's the scientific take away? >> this is very good news. viruses spread through a population and then they find safe haven where they can swirl around and mutate. what that means when i say mutates is that when they are in any part of the population they start to change naturally and as we've seen, for example, in hotspots likeha terrible disasts that you seen in india where new variants arise from mutations you want to ensure that that type of opportunity for this virus to change its behavior and changes profile, changes infectivity does not arrive. so now with the kids this is just great news because we can not only ensure that children can go to parties and they can meet others and go to school safely buto also that you and u
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can prevent clearly the illnesses that do occur and all those less than in adults by far but you can ensure that the virus is not given a safe haven and you can begin to address what is a segment of the population where the virus is swirling around and not doing a huge amount of damage but every death, every illness is a tragedy and let's not forget that. everyone affects the family but at the same time you can start to removeu the virus from our population. that's a very big deal. >> doctor levin, with hotspots like india vaccines hesitancy in this country's what percentage do you put the risk at of this virus mutating in the vaccine currently available are no longer effective? >> we don't actually know. i think it would be unwise to speculate but what we do know is
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that we have seen in brazil, in south africa, in india, in great britain every time, every time you give a chance to this virus it takes it and what it does is it begins to mutates. there are two kinds or several kinds of mutations in one is it makes it more infectious and that's what we are seeing. that's what we are seen in india and spreading superfast. version that developed and great britain out of the original virus spread very quickly to the united states. these are variants which seize the opportunity to infect you and become more infectious but there's another kind of variants which we don't want to see and that is one that leads to more harm and that is it's not just more infected but more verlyn and in other words it can hurt
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more people and we certainly don't want to see variants that start having effects, more effects on younger kids so the more we can crush back the hotspots and the faster and that's why 18 months is just not even remotely the right thing to be doing but we need to crush this now because we don't want to see any variance really turn a corner into a bad place. >> is there any evidence right now that the variance have been able or that people who have the variance and were vaccinated became ill? >> well, actually we do know that once you are vaccinated that you can actually be, very small percentage in this country, but nevertheless, what is very important there is that even with the variance we appear to be having a significant amount of efficacy so this is important and when you do have that you don't appear, death
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rates go down and even if you do get infected you are or have a far lowerou incidence of a poora outcome of any kind so good news is, the very good news is that the vaccines do appear to be fighting against the variance. the better news, which i think is important for us all to understand is that both pfizer and moderna, because of the new kind of vaccine types, mrna are able to pivot on a dime and start to think about how to tackle the new variants if they should come along and how they might improve the effect of their vaccines on them. so, we've got a lot of confidence in the way that they are able to at least try to manage new variants. >> speaking of pfizer and moderna, kurt wants to know in a tweet asked to guess what the profit margins are and what is
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the forecast of their profit margins for those two companies? >> i don't know and i think kurt, haven't talked to the companies and they publish these and i don't follow that specifically but i do know something that without the investment that those companies madeha this country would stille shut down. what would be experiencing, let's not focus on did they make money out of it? i hope they do. let's ask a different question. if they were not here what would we be doing and we would have millions out of work and people who are old would be dine and we know that we don't need to run that experiment. what is the price of that? having said that, listen very carefully to the statements of those, ceos of moderna, ceos of
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astrazeneca, ceos of every pfizer, they are not out to make a profit which is not unreasonable. some of these companies have said they are willing to send their product abroad for at cost and some of them are simply making a significant amountsng t of the contract, not a profit and they are making money and yes, they are and they deserve to because it costs them money to build the plans to put in place all of the infrastructure and from my perspective i'm not here arguing for prophets or nonprofits but asking current and all other listeners who are thinking about this and what would've happened if we didn't have the vaccines? who would build them? nobody. >> let's go to jay in virginia. >> good morning, doctor. my question is you mentioned
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that the key for the pandemic is to create more vaccines and ship it to countries in the middle east and in africa but he also mentioned that they won't have the equipment like the refrigerators to keep it at separate temperature so how will we help them by ramping up if they don't have that equipment. do think maybe we should push for the release of johnson & johnson because it doesn't need much of a cold temperature and you also mentioned i read somewhere that doctor kaplan carico who was the one that discovered the process of a messenger rna and she's getting compensated for her discovery. >> great comments. jay, right on target. look, a better investment of time would be asking how can we set up is to be sure and in all
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nations so that we are sure that, for example, in the survey others in brazil and in the varying impoverished parts of south africa all across the middle east et cetera that they can get the right kind of vaccine and one, by the way jay, of high quality, not some fake vaccine a that is nearly 40% of medicine in african and asia happened to be knockoffs or fakes so let's be very clear. you need a high quality medicine and the kind that we put into our arms and in this country going to those nations and so an investment of time and effort to construct the right kind of distribution in the safe kind of distribution and the appropriate could be done. there machines that can be manufactured quickly and this is not something that is, you can make a refrigeratorld superfast versus building a plant for high
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quality vaccine so that's number one. number two, we should all take our hats off to what j&j did. >> we leave this to fulfill our 40 plus year commitment to live coverage of congress. washington journal available online at c-span .org. we take you live to the senate about to gavel back in following their party lunch meetings. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. madam president, this week is national police week and i rise today in honor of the service and sacrifice of law enforcement across this country. in north carolina, we lost ten law enforcement officers in 2020 and we've tragically lost six so far in 2021. some of these officers were victims of covid, others were involved in car accidents, and some made the ultimate sacrifice killed in the line of duty. recent tragedies in


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