The administration of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday joined in calls to share the technology behind the COVID-19 vaccine, which will help speed up the end of the epidemic, a change that the United States wants to make in many developing countries, including those in need.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Toy has announced the government’s position that the World Trade Organization (WTO) will allow more manufacturers to produce life-saving vaccines amid talks about suspending its protections.
“Management strongly believes in intellectual property protections, but in the service of ending this epidemic, supports the waiver of protections for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Tai said.
He warned that it would take time to reach the global “consensus” needed to waive protections under WTO rules, and that it would not have an immediate effect on the global distribution of COVID-19 footage, U.S. officials said.
‘This is a global health crisis’
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 epidemic call for extraordinary action,” Tai said. “The goal of the administration is to get safe and effective vaccines for as many people as possible as soon as possible.”
Enkoshi Okonjo-Ivela, director general of the World Trade Organization, has been battling the issue for hours after speaking at a closed-door meeting of ambassadors from developing and developed countries, but acknowledges the need for widespread access to Covit-19 treatments.
The issue of the temporary waiver of intellectual property protection on COVID-19 vaccines and other tools was taken up by the General Council of the World Trade Organization, which was first proposed by South Africa and India in October. The idea has gained support in developing countries and some progressive lawmakers in the West.
More than 100 countries have come out in support of the proposal, and a group of 110 members of the US Congress – all Democrats – sent a letter to Biden last month calling for support for the waiver.
Opposition from the industry
Opponents – especially from the industry – say there will be no panic over a discount. They emphasize that the production of corona virus vaccines is complex and cannot be increased by easing intellectual property. They also say that lifting security could affect future inventions.
“In the midst of a deadly epidemic, the Biden administration has taken an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to epidemic and compromise protection,” said Stephen Uple, president and CEO of pharmaceutical research and manufacturers in the United States.
Dr Michael McMurray-Heath, chief executive of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization Business Group, said in a statement that Biden management’s decision would undermine incentives to develop vaccines and treatments for future infections.
No immediate agreement
It is unclear how some of the most influential pharmaceutical companies in Europe and some of the countries that have previously shared US reservations about the rebate will respond.
WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said the group is expected to take up the rebate plan again at a “temporary” meeting later this month, ahead of a formal meeting on June 8-9. That means any final deal can be the best for weeks.
Several months later, he pointed to a change in tone in the WTO talks on Wednesday.
“I would say the discussion was very constructive and pragmatic. It was less emotional and less pointing than it had been in the past,” Rockwell said. Citing an increase in cases in places like India.
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Commenting on the World Trade Organization’s website, Okonjo-Ivela said, “We have a responsibility to move quickly to put the revised text on the table, but also to start text-based negotiations.”
Negotiations are ongoing
A Geneva trade official said he had no authority to speak publicly on the matter. A stalemate continues, with opposing sides far apart, the official said.
This argument is part of a long-running debate on intellectual property protections, centers for the promotion of patents, copyright and protections for industrial design, and the need to expand the production and deployment of vaccines in the event of a shortage of confidential information and distribution. Its purpose is to suspend the rules for many years, long enough to beat the epidemic.
The issue has been exacerbated by a growing number of lawsuits in India, the world’s second-most populous country and a major manufacturer of vaccines – one for the COVID-19, which relies on the technology of the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. More than 437 million people and catastrophic economies, according to Johns Hopkins University.