Thursday, April 29, 2021

Oh, patents! TESLA's Model X

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The US design patent USD683268, titled Vehicle, covering the ornamental aspects of the TESLA Model X exterior, was granted on May 28, 2013, to Elon Reeve Musk, Franz von Holzhausen, Bernard Lee, and David Tadashi Imai.  The Figure 1 drawing below, extracted from the patent, shows a front or side view of the vehicle. An image of the marketed TESLA Model X  is also included.

As a reminder :

 “a utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a “design patent” protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171) [MPEP Chapt. 1502.01; [R-07.2015]].

 




References

TESLA (website) www.tesla.com

TESLA (Model X) https://www.tesla.com/modelx

USPTO - MPEP – Chapt. 1502-01 – Distinction between design and utility patent  https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s1502.html

Monday, April 26, 2021

Oh, patents! TESLA’s falcon-wing doors

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Surprisingly, Elon Musk, space exploration visionary and electric car guru, founder and CEO of SpaceX(1) and TESLA(2), appears to have patented few inventions for fear of fierce competition from China. In Musk's own words : 

“We have essentially no patents. Our primary long-term competition is China. If we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.” [quoted in Heller & Salzman, 2021]

Perhaps that Musk has a point, considering the US Patent Rules for filing utility patent applications that require a description of the invention:

 “[...] in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same." (US CFR 37: 1.70)

On the other hand, in the spirit of the Open Source movement, Musk posted on the TESLA Motors Inc.  blog (June 12, 2014):

 “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology” [Musk, June 12, 2014

thus releasing TESLA’s patent portfolio to “The Commons”.

Explaining himself, Musk was actually arguing precisely according to patent specification rules that the disclosure of his inventions might indeed promote and advance the development of electric vehicles, considering the tremendous resistance to electric vehicles that then existed. Contrary to other domains of inventions, TESLA’s intellectual property was not even at risk of being stolen by larger multinational car manufacturing corporations. Noone was buying into electric vehicles. Thus, oddly enough, consistent with a positive take on disclosing inventions within the context of patents, it was hoped that foregoing the rights to awarded intellectual property would actually accelerate the company’s vision of sustainable transportation, in a world confronted with climate change. Indeed, the move was fearless.

In any event, a search (this day) for patents assigned to TESLA Motors Inc., at the USPTO, retrieved several hundred US design and utility patents combined (407 to be precise) and many more using Google Patents. Far less patents appeared assigned to the more recent Space Exploration Technologies Corp., via both Google Patents and direct USPTO search (8 patents and 19 pending applications) (3).

The following US design patent, USD678154, titled Vehicle door is one of the  TESLA US design patents, awarded to Elon Reeve Musk.  USD67815 is the design patent that covers one of the most far-out features of the high-end TESLA Model X Electric cars: the falcon-wing doors that lift up to open. 

Below, one of the patent figure drawings, showing a perspective view with the vehicle door mounted in an opened position, together with an image of the marketed TESLA Model X, with falcon-wing doors open. 


 Notes

(1) SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies was awarded NASA partnership contracts within the context of the NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP). NASA contracted SpaceX for the design and manufacture of re-usable spacecraft, intended to transport space crew and goods. Transportation would initially target the International Space Station. In the future, it might be part of missions to build colonies on the Moon, even launchpads to Mars from the Moon, or perhaps the development of space villages and cities, orbiting planet Earth.

(2) TESLA manufactures hi-performance electric cars, together with hi-performance solar installation solutions.

(3) The number of patents retrieved at sites other than the USPTO varies, in part depending on whether just one patent family member is counted, or all of them. Patents are also variously assigned to Tesla Motors Inc.. and Tesla Inc., plus more, which the search engine may, or may not, combine.   

References

Heller, M. and J. Salzman (March 4, 2021) Elon Musk doesn’t care about patents. Should you? Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/03/elon-musk-doesnt-care-about-patents-should-you

Musk, E. (June 12, 2014)  All our patent are belong to you. Tesla Motors inc. Blog.                    https://www.tesla.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you

NASA Commercial Crew Progam (CCP)    https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html

SpaceX https://www.spacex.com/

TESLA https://www.tesla.com/

Title 37 - Code of Federal Regulations Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights (CFR 37), Article 1.70  https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep-9020-appx-r.html#d0e320131

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Interlude - Busy intersections

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

This morning, at 2 am Pacific Standard Time (PST), the SpaceX Dragon Crew-2 mission docked at the International Space Station (ISS), bringing four more astronaut crew members to the seven-member crew, already stationed. The international crew that just arrived included: Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and two NASA astronauts, Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbroug. The new crew is scheduled to stay for 6 months, at the ISSto carry out experiments of various sorts onboard.

The SpaceX mission is part of NASA’s program to hand over space crew transportation to private companies, such as Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp (abbreviated as SpaceX). SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, also Founder and CEO of TESLA, a company manufacturing electric cars and sustainable solar energy solutions. Specifically, the SpaceX Dragon Crew-2 mission fulfills the company’s goals to re-use spacecrafts for crew rotation, at the ISS, and cargo transportation. A plan designed to ultimately drive-down the costs of space exploration, while expanding frontiers.  

Thus, the SpaceX Dragon Crew-2 mission is in fact already the second mission for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, called Endeavor, that just docked at the ISS. The SpaceX Dragon Endeavor was previously used for the first crewed SpaceX Demo-2 Test Flight mission to the ISS. A mission, lasting 2 months, that was also the first NASA-certified commercial space crew transportation flight, within the context of the NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The Dragon Crew-2 Endeavor is even currently docked next to another SpaceX Dragon, called Resilience, used for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission, launched on November 15, 2020. 

Now that the Dragon Crew-2 has arrived, the Dragon-Crew-1 Resilience spacecraft is being prepared for bringing the November 2020 crew back to Earth, on April 28, 2021. The Crew-1 mission included three NASA astronauts: Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and the Japanese astronaut Soicho Noguchi. 

Below, The Guardian YouTube video briefly chronicles: docking of the Crew-2 Dragon Resilience to the ISS, enthusiastic greeting of Crew-2 members upon arrival within the ISS, and a short statement by Astronaut Megan McArthur.

References

NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP)   https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html

NASA International Space Station (ISS)   https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

SpaceX -  Space Exploration Technologies Corp. -   https://www.spacex.com/

TESLA - https://www.tesla.com/ 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day 2021

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann


Recognizing that Earth Day is every day, EarthDay.org organized three days of action, centered on Climate Change, to celebrate Earth Day 2021, under the trademarked theme  Restore our Earth™.  

The EarthDay.org Restore our Earth™ theme regroups 5 major campaigns:

1. The Canopy Project™: Conservation and restoration project that involves planting trees around the world.  Since its inception, in 2010, the Canopy Project™ project has planted tens of millions of trees, in partnership with reforestation groups, in areas impacted by climate change and degradation, or to prevent environmental disasters.

2. Food and environment: Project designed to fight climate change with diet changes. Measures “foodprints”, the environmental impacts associated with “growing, producing, transporting, and storing of our food— from the natural resources consumed, to the pollution produced, to the greenhouse gases emitted.”

3. The Great Global Cleanup™: Project designed to encourage people to sign up, show up and clean up ” for organized cleanup events. The facts on global waste are chilling: 270,000 premature deaths related to uncontrolled burning of household waste, 1 billion people live without waste collection services, and 79% of all plastic ever produced have accumulated in the environment, unprocessed and unrecycled.

4. Climate and environmental literacy: Combined with civic education, the EarthDay.org climate and environmental literacy campaign is designed to create jobs, build a green consumer market, and enable citizens to find local solutions to climate change. Launched in 2020, this campaign aims to combine grassroots and civil society efforts with institutional ones, via a strong civic education component in all schools.

5. Global Earth Challenge™: Citizen science initiative, this program is designed to engage millions of people, while integrating billions of data points from new and ongoing citizen science projects.  Currently, a very large bee campaign is underway, designed to understand the impact of climate change on disappearing bee colonies. A mobile app, Global Earth Challenge ™, helps citizens everywhere to design projects, and share data, for the purposes of informing policy at local, regional, and institutional levels.

Happy Earth Day 2021!

References

EarthDay.org (website) -  https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/

The Canopy Project ™ -  https://www.earthday.org/campaign/the-canopy-project/

Food and environment -  https://www.earthday.org/campaign/foodprints-for-future/

The Great Global Cleanup™ -  https://cleanup.earthday.org/

Climate and environmental Literacy -  https://www.earthday.org/campaign/climate-environmental-literacy/

Global Earth Challenge ™ -  https://globalearthchallenge.earthday.org/

Monday, April 19, 2021

Oh, patents! Oh, Ingenuity!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

On schedule with no delays, Ingenuity ascended 10 feet above the Martian soil, hovered and turned 96 degrees, before landing on the same spot, on Mars, sending back a first picture (below) of its own shadow. Ingenuity is a small space craft helicopter drone that made history, on April 19, 2021, as the first controlled (un-manned) flight on another planet, some 180 million miles away from planet Earth. Ingenuity’s flight was also performed 118 years after the first airplane, flown by the Wright brothers, on December 17, 1903, took off and safely landed at Kitty Hawk, in North Carolina. This is the reason why the actual site on Mars, where Ingenuity took its first flight, is now named the Wright Brother’s Field. Indeed, Ingenuity’s flight is also a historic event on more counts than one.


Ingenuity landed on Mars, tucked inside the Perseverance Rover’s belly, on February 18, 2021. The small helicopter was deployed on April 3rd, unfolding from a stowed frangi-bolted horizontal position, to a vertical position on the ground, from inside the rover’s belly, once the Perseverance hatch unlatched and dropped to the ground to release the space craft. Then, after the Perseverance Rover drove past the deployed space helicopter, uncovering it’s delivered payload, Ingenuity had to be solar charged and all systems verified. Finally, once in receipt of its first flight instructions, the little space craft was able to take off and land, completing its first flight (see video footage below). All of which pre-flight sequences were fired on Mars via remote-control from Earth, with a 20 minute delay. 

However, even before Ingenuity could land or fly on Mars, the little space helicopter had to be built to specification that would resist the long voyage from Earth to Mars. In other words it had to be built to:

  •        survive launching onto space with 80G* vibration load
  •        survive  a 7-month trip complete with radiation
  •        survive 9G* vibration load upon entry in the Martian atmosphere
(*) gravitational constant

Ingenuity also had to be built to specification of the Martian atmosphere which is both much thinner than on Earth, and more oxidizing. The density of Martian atmosphere is actually 1% that of air on Earth. Martian gravity is also 38% that of gravity on Earth, which makes everything much lighter. Still, because of how thin the air is on Mars, Ingenuity had to be built very light. Thus, Ingenuity was designed to weigh less than four pounds (12 kgs), with blades each weighing 35 grams (equal to 6 quarters). The helicopter blades were designed stacked for stowing purposes. The blades rotate at 2300 to 2900 rpm (rotations per minute), which is 5 times faster than regular helicopter blades, rotating at 500 rpm.

Because remote control from Earth has a 20-minute delay, sequences of instructions are sent, which are then supplemented with data from a suite of sensors required for autonomous blade control, including data captured from accelerometer, gyrometer, camera, altimeter and inclinometer. Ingenuity is also equipped with insulated, rechargeable cellphone size batteries, operating to keep the space helicopter warm enough during the average -90 degrees F temperatures on Mars.

Ingenuity’s flight is an engineering mission designed to showcase that a drone-like space craft can fly outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Ingenuity has no scientific payload to carry out experiments. The purpose of the mission is to obtain engineering data in view of informing future designs. Ingenuity will also carry out longer, and more daring, missions on Mars, exploring places inaccessible to the Perseverance Rover, in search of telltale signs of biological life that may have existed, billions of years ago, on Mars.

Cheers to all the resourcefulness built into Ingenuity!

Video of Ingenuity's first flight, taken by the Perseverance Mastercam Z 
with zoom-in replay. 

References

Staff (April 19 2021) First video of NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter in flight   https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25828/first-video-of-nasas-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-in-flight/

Staff (April 17 2021) NASA to attempt first controlled flight on Mars as soon as Monday   https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8919/nasa-to-attempt-first-controlled-flight-on-mars-as-soon-as-monday/

Staff (March 23, 2021) NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter prepares for first flight https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8896/nasa-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-prepares-for-first-flight/

Friday, April 16, 2021

Terminology - Vaccine equity in the US

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Sometimes, even the best efforts to ensure equity are vexed with stubborn obstacles. This is the case of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign in the US, where efforts have consistently been deployed to ethically rollout vaccinations, for medical personnel, the elderly and most vulnerable populations first. A gracious, bully-proof policy, aimed at countering perverse twists on survival-of-the-fittest, while setting the tone for the rest of the world. However, despite such best ethical efforts, together with a stockpile (under fire) of vaccines large enough to provide vaccinations for all of the US population plus more, and 100% free administration of vaccines at multiple venues with almost no-questions asked, the US vaccine campaign is definitely flunking racial/ethnic equity.  

ABC News Vaccine Watch - California vaccine demographics

Specifically, despite 1> the new Biden administration successful launch of an unprecedented, top-priority, vaccine roll-out across the nation: at all the National Football League (NFL) stadiums and closed-campus parking lots, in churches, and other places of worship, at the large retail pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Safeway, at clinics, healthcare centers, and other medical facilities, in cooperation with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security. 2>  US Federal government purchase of a total of 600 million doses, 300 million respectively from Pfizer and Moderna, intended for 100% free administration (Staff HHS, Feb. 2021), and 3> A pace of vaccinations, scaled up to 3 to 4 million inoculations per day, the undeniable success of this campaign is also marred

In other words, even if the campaign appears to be rolling out successfully with the necessary infrastructure of "stuff, staff and space" such pre-requisites also appear far from sufficient to guarantee equal access. Insufficient, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) research, tracking race/ethnicity of the US vaccination campaign (Staff KFF, April 2021).

For example, based on CDC data, the KFF found that: 

 “As of April 6, 2021, CDC reported that race/ethnicity was known for just over half (55%) of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (65%), 11% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, 5% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while 9% reported multiple or other race [Italics mine].” Ndugga et. al, April. 2021 

 KFF further tracked and analyzed race/ethincity data published in 43 US States, precisely to inform action for a more equitable US campaign. In this regards, acknowledging the incompleteness of the data sets, the KFF also  found:  

“ […]  a consistent pattern across states of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population. […]

Overall, across these 41 states, the vaccination rate among White people is 1.8 times higher than the rate for Hispanic people (28% vs. 16%), and 1.6 times as high as the rate for Black people (28% vs. 17%).” Ndugga et. al, April. 2021

Thus, many additional dependent variables appear related to vaccine equity in the US, all of which are being investigated and further acted upon, to remedy the situation (Ndugga etc. al. March 2021). The following are some of the additional variables identified, known to prevent the vaccination equity that most people expect and deeply desire (Lewis, 2021).

  1. Car ownership enabling people to drive to the nearest vaccination center, which may be located way beyond walking distance. (Lewis, 2021)
  2. Living far from public transportation for access to a vaccination center.(Lewis, 2021)
  3. Poor internet access, creating a challenge to secure a vaccination appointment.(Lewis, 2021)
  4. Inadequate literacy skills to make an appointment on the Internet, and/or confusing and maze-like instructions for securing a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.(Lewis, 2021)
  5. Language barriers for non-English/limited English-speaking people, coupled with burdensome proof-of-eligibility requirements.(Lewis, 2021)
  6. Differences in age-expectancy between black and white populations, brought on by systemic racism. In other words, the shorter life span of the black population, makes the black population more vulnerable at a younger age than the white population. Hence the call for lowering the age-cut-off for black populations, prior to lifting the age-related pecking order for vaccinations.(Lewis, 2021)
  7. Conversely, a higher life-expectancy for Hispanic populations compared to non-latino white populations, despite the lower socio-economic status of Hispanics. Demographics which might consequently result in raising the age cut-off for Hispanics. However, the latino population suffered far more COVID-19 casualties than the non-latino white population, which canceled any age-raising suggestions.(Lewis, 2021)
  8. Differences in the age-expectancy of the Native American population, also calling for lowering the age cut-off for Native Americans. A population that dies way before the white population, and that has suffered more casualties and difficulties, during the pandemic. (Lewis, 2021)
  9. Mistrust and skepticism preventing vaccination uptake, arising in a long tradition of malpractice promulgated against communities of color, and structural racism. (Chavez and Peña, 2021)
  10. Fear of vaccinations, callously fueled by misinformation on potential negative long term health effects, side-effects, ineffectiveness, danger considering existing health conditions, mistrust of the Trump administration, and the costs of vaccinations (Chavez and Peña, 2021)

References

ABC News Vaccine Watch https://abc7news.com/vaccine/

Chavez, G. R. and J. M. Peña (Jan, 25, 2021) Skepticism and mistrust challenge COVID vaccine uptake for Latinos. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/how-we-rise/2021/01/25/skepticism-and-mistrust-challenge-covid-vaccine-uptake-for-latinos/  

Lewis, T. (March 2021) The biggest barriers to COVID-a9 vaccination for Black and Latinx people.    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-biggest-barriers-to-covid-vaccination-for-black-and-latinx-people1/

Ndugga et. al. (March 10, 2021) How are States Addressing Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts?  Kaiser Family Foundation.   https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/issue-brief/how-are-states-addressing-racial-equity-in-covid-19-vaccine-efforts/

Ndugga, N. et. al. (April 7, 2021) Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations Race/Ethnicity.  Kaiser Family Foundation.    https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/

Staff (Feb. 11, 2021) Biden Administration purchases additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna - US Department Health and Human Services. (HHS).   https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/02/11/biden-administration-purchases-additional-doses-covid-19-vaccines-from-pfizer-and-moderna.html

Staff (April 9, 2021) COVID-19: Vaccinations by race/ethnicity.  Kaiser Family Foundation Dashboards.     https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/state-covid-19-data-and-policy-actions/#raceethnicity

Monday, April 12, 2021

Teminology: Vaccine apartheid

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign picks up speed in the US, with a record 3 to 4 million vaccinations per day, issues of global access to COVID-19 vaccines and of vaccination campaign equity have arisen. Vaccine apartheid is the term that has been coined in reference to global inequity in vaccine distribution, and corollary access to COVID-19 vaccination. By way of comparison, for example, according to Médecins sans frontières/Doctors Without Borders, a country like Iraq has received 360,000 doses of the Astra Zaneca vaccine for a population of 40 million (Ebeid, O., 2021). 

According to the British scientific research journal Nature, the following threefold issue is at the root of the emerging global inequity of COVID-19 vaccine distribution: 1>COVID-19 vaccine production capacity, 2> the purchasing power of rich nations who have pre-ordered vaccines, and 3> patenting rights, which exclude the transfer of technologies beyond those few companies owners of the intellectual property (IP) rights, already producing the vaccines at full capacity, primarily in the West, China and Russia. In other words, patenting rights perceived as obstructing the supply of COVID-19 technologies, in response to an extremely urgent demand. In sum, whatever vaccine production exists, it is already largely earmarked for those (rich) countries, who have pre-ordered, compounded by the fact that patenting rights prevent production from being distributed elsewhere, among other facilities, for example in medium–income nations. A production that would cover local populations, and the population of the poorest nations, without facilities or any purchasing power. 

Thus, medium-income, and poor nations, not only have to wait for vaccines (perhaps till 2022 or 2023), they have to wait far longer than necessary, because production is prevented from happening elsewhere. In terms of numbers, poorer nations, making up to 80% of the world population, currently have access to less than one-third of the available COVID-19 vaccines (Nature Editorial, 2021). The World Trade Organization (WTO), is thus currently under the pressure of an India and South Africa-led coalition of 100 nations, with civil society support, demanding that intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccine technologies be temporarily lifted, at least until the pandemic is under control, so that production can be set up elsewhere than at the few facilities of the western world for the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Astra Zaneca vaccines, as well as for the Sinopharm vaccine in  China and the Sputnik V vaccine in Russia. (The People's VaccineGlobal Justice now).

Such a dramatic situation, oblivious of the public health interest, is not altogether unfamiliar. With hindsight from the disastrous monopoly on antiretroviral therapies (ART) within the context of the AIDS pandemic, pharmaceutical companies, such as Moderna, have indeed waived enforcing their patenting rights against others making the COVID-19 vaccine till the end of the pandemic, and will grant licensing rights for the mRNA technology post-pandemic. A pledge that technically lifts the monopoly on pricing conferred by patenting rights, promoting the development of a new vaccination paradigm, while still falling short on the possibility of transferring vaccine know-how and manufacturing to the Third World, during the pandemic (Shore, 2020). However, considering the absence of electricity for 1.5 billion people in the Third World, the Moderna vaccine is also considered an unsuitable candidate vaccine for the Third World, primarily due to the low-temperature storage conditions and to the costs of a double-dose regimen (Curtis, 2020). Likewise, for the same reasons, the Pfizer vaccine is deemed even more significantly ill-suited for the Third World, considering the extreme cold storage conditions (-70 degrees Celsius) required for the costly double-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine (1). Thus, the small set of pharmaceutical companies, producing effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, and especially those deemed more suitable for the Third World  (e.g.; Astra Zaneca), are being specifically urged to live up to the spirit of solidarity that was put forward during the early phases of public funding for research and development of COVID-19 vaccine development (Ellman, 2021). An urgent request that often forcibly ends up as a desperate appeal to all rich countries and pharmaceutical companies implicated, for the purchase and donation of vaccines to poorer nations, not only in need of COVID-19 vaccines right now, but of the right vaccines (Nature Editorial, 2021).

If the obscene cruelty of an unnecessary wait for medical technologies appears to be repeating within the context of the emerging vaccine apartheid of the COVID-19 pandemic, an even greater threat is seen lurking on the horizon. According to UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, vaccine apartheid for the poorest countries of the world not only prevents those countries from exiting the health and economic crisis brought about by the COV-2 pandemic, on a par with the rest of the world, vaccine apartheid also puts the rest of the planet at risk, canceling the possibility of eradication. Indeed, according to Byanyami: 

"The longer the virus is allowed to continue in a context of patchy immunity, the greater the chance of mutations that could render the vaccines we have and the vaccines some people in rich countries have already received, less effective or ineffective." (Byanyima, 2021)

In other words, for all who have survived to tell the tale of the year 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic clearly illustrates global interdependency, just in case such a dynamic might have previously appeared untenable. As Democracy Now! puts it succinctly: “If one person is unprotected, we are all unprotected.” (Goodman & Moynihan, 2020), a situation that vaccine apartheid might be in the process of amplifying. 

-------------

(1) As of March 5, 2021 Rwanda is the only African country thus far with a Pfizer vaccination campaign, launched using special storage technology. Astra Zaneca, the vaccine generally known to be a more suited vaccine for the Third World, was also launched  in Rwanda (Uwiringiyimana, 2021).

References

Byanyima, W. (Feb. 18, 2021) UNAIDS -  A global vaccine apartheid is unfolding. People’s lives must come before profit. UNAIDS.   https://www.unaids.org/en/20210203_oped_guardian

Curtis, J. (Nov. 30, 2020) Coronavirus: Access to vaccines in developing countries. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus-access-to-vaccines-in-developing-countries/

Ellman, T. Dr.  (Feb. 18, 2021) Southern Africa needs the right COVID-19 vaccines, at the right price – right now. Médecins sans frontiers (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders (DWB).   https://www.msf.org/msf-urges-rich-countries-share-appropriate-covid-19-vaccines-southern-africa

Ebeid, O. (March 31, 2021) Only vaccination will end the ferocious spread of COVID-19 in Iraq. Médecins sans frontiers (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders (DWB).   https://www.msf.org/iraq-only-vaccination-will-end-fast-spread-covid-19

Glenza, J. (March 31, 2021) Coronavirus: How wealthy nations are creating a vaccine apartheid. The Guardian.    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/coronavirus-vaccine-distribution-global-disparity 

Global Justice Now! https://www.globaljustice.org.uk

Goodman, A & D. Moynihan (FEb. 25, 2021) Vaccine Apartheid: If One Person Is Unprotected, We Are All Unprotected.    https://www.democracynow.org/2021/2/25/vaccine_apartheid_if_one_person_is

O’Neill, J. (March 18, 2021) End vaccine apartheid by waiving patents and save us all from Covid-19. The Guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/18/end-vaccine-apartheid-by-waiving-patents-and-save-us-all-from-covid-19

Shores, M. (November 2020) Breaking Down Moderna’s COVID-19 Patent Pledge: Why Did They Do It? https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2020/11/11/breaking-modernas-covid-19-patent-pledge/id=127224/

Staff (March 31, 20210 It’s time to consider a patent reprieve for COVID vaccines. Nature.   https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00863-w

Staff (March 21, 2021) Interview: Three questions on worrying COVID-19 surge in Papua New Guinea. Médecins sans frontiers (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders (DWB).   https://www.msf.org/png-health-system-verge-collapse-following-covid-19-surge An

Staff (March 25, 2021) COVID-19 support desperately needed as second wave overwhelms Yemen. Médecins sans frontiers (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders (DWB).   https://www.msf.org/covid-19-support-desperately-needed-second-wave-overwhelms-yemen

The People's Vaccinehttps://peoplesvaccine.org/