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At time of writing, the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca plc, have announced data from Phase III trials showing that their candidate vaccine can indeed effectively prevent the disease, including an observed reduction in asymptomatic infections.
There are many reasons to be excited about these findings. The speed of development and testing is unprecedented. A large number of doses are already manufactured, with many more on their way. Then there is the fact that the temperature stability and low cost of this particular vaccine (in comparison to others under development) could mean that it can be rolled out to the developing world more effectively, and so possibly mark the beginning of the end for the devastating pandemic worldwide.
Of course, just as importantly, it provides an opportunity to consider the patentability of medical inventions relating to different dosage regimes at the European Patent Office (EPO). (more…)