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In October 2011, the European Court of Justice banned patents for inventions involving stem cells derived from embryos. This case highlighted some of the challenges the patent system faces when assessing biomedical inventions. This POSTnote considers how patent law is applied to biomedical inventions and examines the potential impact on patient access to diagnostic tests and innovation.


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  • A POSTnote on digital skills for life will discuss the digital skills required for everyday life and employment, why parts of the population may lack these skills and which groups are most affected. It will consider the impact of the skills shortage on individuals and the economy as well as strategies to improve the population’s digital skills. Provisional start date: January 2021.

  • A POSTnote on preventing zoonotic diseases will review the evidence on a One Health approach to zoonoses prevention. It will focus on the animal-environment-human interface in both wild and domestic animals, reviewing national and international policy approaches, and lessons learnt from previous epidemics. It will also summarise opportunities and challenges for the UK’s role in global health and biosecurity policy arenas post COVID-19. Provisional start date: January 2021.