WASHINGTON – The Biden government announced on Wednesday that it supports the waiver of intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines as countries struggle to manufacture the life-saving doses.
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The government firmly believes that intellectual property protection is needed, but in the service of ending this pandemic, the removal of that protection for COVID-19 is essential supports vaccines, “United States sales representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement.
“With our vaccine supplies to the American people secure, the government will continue to work – in collaboration with the private sector and all possible partners – to expand the manufacture and distribution of vaccines. It will also work to obtain the raw materials it needs increase produce these vaccines, “added the statement.
Shares of major pharmaceutical companies that made vaccines, including Moderna, BioNTech, and Pfizer, fell sharply after the potential was revealed Disclaimers broke first.
World Trade Organization leaders reportedly this week urged member states to swiftly clarify the details of an agreement to temporarily relax the intellectual property rules behind coronavirus vaccines. The derogation proposed by South Africa and India could remove barriers to increasing vaccine production in developing countries.
WTO decisions are based on consensus, so all 164 members must agree.
Continue reading: Rich countries are refusing to renounce Covid vaccine rights as cases worldwide hit record highs
White House President Joe Biden on Wednesday reiterated that the White House would support the World Trade Organization’s proposal to suspend intellectual property. “Yes, I’ll talk about that later today. Yes,” Biden said just before Tai’s statement was released.
The US sales representative’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for clarification.
The move by the Biden government comes because coronavirus infections are soaring in countries where vaccines are difficult to source or distribute.
46-year-old Edith Arangoitia (who came to accompany her older mother) was born on February 16, 2021 by Dr. Galen Harnden in La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts, was vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Joseph Precious | AFP | Getty Images
In the past few weeks, India has been grappling with a staggering surge in new coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, India reported 400,000 cases per day for a cumulative total of 20,665,148 cases. This is evident from numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins. The spike may have been triggered by a highly contagious variant of Covid known as B.1.617, which was first identified in the country.
The variant has since been identified in other countries, including the United States.
In April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with Biden about the revocation of patent protection for the coronavirus vaccine. The relaxation would give governments faster and more affordable access to the life-saving doses.
Last week, the Biden government announced that it would immediately provide the raw materials needed to manufacture coronavirus vaccines in India.