As people around the world wrestle with how to manage the global pandemic, it’s clear that development of testing kits, vaccines, medicine, medical equipment, and software can’t happen soon enough. The Open COVID Pledge was launched in April to help speed this process, by encouraging organizations to make their patents and copyrights freely available in the fight against COVID-19.
The initiative was spearheaded by a coalition of scientists, lawyers, and advocates who came together over the course of just a few weeks this spring. In this crisis, there isn’t time to waste, says Michael Eisen, professor and HHMI investigator at the University of California, Berkeley and editor-in-chief of eLife. This initiative is one way to help accelerate progress by reducing barriers to innovation.
“The idea quickly gained momentum. Once we realized we all saw the same need, we dropped what we were doing to make it happen,” says Eisen, who developed the pledge website as one of the coalitions founding members. “It seemed like a way to be catalytic and do something useful to help the effort.”
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