Government agencies and medical institutions have been hit hard recently by hackers attempting to steal coronavirus research. The US and other countries are battling to keep their coronavirus innovations secret (or protect their research in other ways) partly because they want their citizens to benefit from it first, but also because treatments may be quite lucrative. Nicole Hassoun, professor of philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York, says that we need to ensure access to scientific knowledge on coronavirus for the common good, not solely for the limited benefit of governments and businesses.
“The best way to protect ourselves is to protect everyone. We need to share our knowledge to make the most progress in fighting the virus,” says Hassoun. “Patent pools have helped speed up scientific research and development against many other diseases. Moreover, we should not grant companies patents on new innovations, as these monopolies let them set high prices that prevent many people from accessing essential medicines. We should, instead, reimburse them for their efforts in other ways. Rather than fighting over what we know, we can make more progress by sharing our ideas. International cooperation can help save many people's lives and livelihoods.”
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