University Technology Transfer Has Failed to Improve Access to Global Health Products During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care Access, Policy Action, Canada


Publicly funded research has contributed enormously to many products that were developed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet universities' technology transfer practices have failed to ensure that these products are available in low- and middle-income settings. Drawing upon the example of the lipid nanoparticle delivery technology – which was developed in and around the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, and incorporated into the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine – we show the divide between the university's stated principles to serve global health and technology transfer in practice. We outline three policy actions to realign universities' technology transfer practices in the service of global health.