We recently wrote about the pharmaceutical industry in India
, noting that it had been thriving prior to foreign pharma lobbyists pressuring India through international trade agreements to change its patent laws to cover pharmaceuticals. As usually happens when we write about examples like this, some patent supporters in the comments insisted that no Indian research could possibly result in serious drug breakthroughs without patents (apparently those who write this are unfamiliar with Jonas Salk's opinions on patents in reference to the polio vaccine he created: "Could you patent the sun?")
So it's nice to see that even now that India does allow patents on pharma (and, as we noted in the original story, Indian patent laws have been abused by foreign pharma firms in order to jack up prices on commonly used medicines), some Indian scientists have mapped out the tuberculosis genome
, which should help creating new drugs that can help respond to that disease.
But rather than rushing to the patent office, the scientists are freeing up the research through an open source effort:
"What we have not done so far has been achieved. I thank all those students who have helped it become a reality. We are doing this through open source drug discovery (OSDD) and anyone across the world is free to join the effort," [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chief Samir] Bramhachari told IANS....
"OSDD is a completely new formula across the world. Here we are making all our progress available to public. Anyone can take advantage and develop a drug based on our research. The aim here is not patents but drug discovery for a neglected disease," said Rajesh Gokhle, a senior scientist associated with the project.
And I thought that no such breakthroughs were possible without patents?