Empty bottles of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are pictured in a vaccination center in Garlan, western France, on December 13, 2021. (Photo by FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 12:58 PM PT – Sunday, December 19, 2021
Moderna has halted a patent dispute with the U.S. federal government.
According to sources on Friday, the coronavirus vaccine distributor is no longer moving forward with getting the patent application for the mRNA sequence. With the rise of the Omicron variant, Moderna said it wants to “avoid any distractions.”
Moderna first shared the news with the National Institutes of Health at their Dec. 10 meeting.
“Moderna believes that its scientists invented the specific mRNA sequence at the heart of the patent in question,” said the company in a statement. “The company acknowledges that NIH feels equally strongly that its scientists should be listed as co-inventors for their contemporaneous work on the protein sequence.”
Previously this year, the sequence was given the green light by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. No reason for the pause has been given, but Moderna said discussions will continue in the future.