US backs waiver on Covid vaccine intellectual property

US backs waiver on vaccine intellectual property
Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: The United States has thrown its support behind an initiative at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to back waiver intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines.

South Africa and India proposed the move, which the countries said would increase vaccine production around the world.

But vaccine manufacturers argue it may not have the desired effect.

Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, said that “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”.

And she warned that it would take time for World Trade Organization (WTO) members to reach a consensus decision on the matter.

South Africa and India were the leading countries in a group of about 60 countries, who voiced for the last six months has been trying to get the patents on vaccines set aside.

However, they met with strong opposition from the previous White House administration of Donald Trump, the EU and the UK.

But Donald Trump’s successor Joe Biden has taken a different tack. Mr Biden backed a waiver during the 2020 presidential campaign and reiterated his support on Wednesday.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the move a “monumental moment” in the fight against Covid-19.

Supporters say, if approved, the waiver would allow production of coronavirus vaccines to be ramped up and provide more affordable doses for less wealthy countries.

Many developing countries in the world have argued that rules requiring countries to protect patents and other forms of intellectual property are an obstacle to ramping up the production of vaccines and other products needed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

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