US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines

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May 06, 2021
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Image: Pixabay

Washington, May 6 : The Biden administration on Wednesday joined calls for more sharing of the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic, a shift that puts the U.S.

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” Tai said in a statement.
She cautioned that it would take time to reach the required global “consensus” to waive the protections under WTO rules, and U.S. officials said it would not have an immediate effect on the global supply of COVID-19 shots.


In a tweet, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John N. Nkengasong, said the Africa CDC welcomed the waiver and called the decision “leadership in action.” He added: “History will remember this decision as a great act of humanity!”

Tai’s announcement came hours after WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spoke to a closed-door meeting of ambassadors from developing and developed countries that have been wrangling over the issue, but agree on the need for wider access to COVID-19 treatments.The WTO’s General Council took up the issue of a temporary waiver for intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines and other tools, which South Africa and India first proposed in October. The idea has gained support among some progressive lawmakers in the West.