US joins support for a waiver on COVID vaccine patents | DW News

The US will support a proposal to waive IP protections for coronavirus vaccines, Washington’s top trade official said. More than 100 countries want the temporary suspension of patents on COVID-19 vaccines.

Many countries want the lifting of patents, copyrights, and protections for industrial design and confidential information related to COVID-19 vaccines. They are calling for suspension of such protections for several years to help speed up vaccine production. The idea of waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines has wide support among the developing world, as countries struggle to secure enough doses to inoculate their citizens. Meanwhile rich nations such as the US have been accused of hoarding vaccine supplies.

Both international and domestic US leaders praised the move by Biden. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the Biden administration’s decision to support the waiver proposal a “monumental moment in the fight against COVID-19.” Ghebreyesus backs the initiative, saying that such waivers are within the powers of the WTO and that it is the perfect time to use them.

The proposal has faced stiff opposition from countries with powerful pharmaceutical and biotech industries. They say that such a waiver would not provide the relief that people hope, as vaccine production is a complex procedure that cannot be ramped up simply by lifting protections, which could have an impact on future innovation.


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