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Moderna sues Pfizer for patent infringement over COVID jab

In this file photo taken on Feb 2, 2021, a needle in a vial of the Moderna Inc COVID-19 vaccine is seen at a vaccination site in Luckenwalde, Germany. (KOPPITZ / BLOOMBERG)

LOS ANGELES / LOS ANGELES – Moderna sued Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Friday for patent infringement in the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States, alleging they copied technology that Moderna developed years before the pandemic.

Pfizer said the company was confident in its intellectual property and would vigorously defend against the allegations

The lawsuit, which seeks undetermined monetary damages, was filed in US District Court in Massachusetts. The suit also would be filed also in the Regional Court of Duesseldorf in Germany, Moderna said in a news release.

"We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic," Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said in the news release.

Moderna Inc, on its own, and the partnership of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE  were two of the first groups to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, leading to a revenue windfall.

Pfizer said the company was confident in its intellectual property and would vigorously defend against the allegations.

"We are surprised by the litigation given the COVID-19 vaccine was based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer," a Pfizer spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

BioNTech called the lawsuit "unfortunate" and declared its work was original.

"We will vigorously defend against all allegations of patent infringement," the company said in a statement.

In this file photo taken on Dec 08, 2020, nurse Paula McMahon (right) prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for another healthcare worker at the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow  as Britain starts is biggest ever vaccination program. (JEFF J MITCHELL / POOL / AFP)

UK

Britain's medicines regulator on Friday approved Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 17 years.

The mRNA vaccines made by Moderna as well as the partnership between Pfizer-BioNTech are also cleared for use by this age group, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said.

Britain in February cleared Novavax's two-dose vaccine, Nuvaxovid, for use in adults. 

A sign about COVID-19 test is displayed at a testing site as people are seen inside for testing in Morton Grove, Illinois on Jan 9, 2022. (NAM Y. HUH / AP)

US

About 80,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States for the week ending Aug 18, according to the latest report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Almost 14.4 million children have been reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the report.

Over 358,000 of these cases have been added in the past 4 weeks, and approximately 6.5 million reported cases have been added in 2022, according to the report.

Since the pandemic began, children represented 18.4 percent of total cumulated cases in the United States, according to the AAP.