Biden backs waiving vaccine patents

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Islam News – As the gap in vaccinations between the world’s richest and poorest countries widens, it’s creating a stark split screen: People are busy lining up summer vacations in the U.S. and Europe while residents gasp for oxygen in India.

That contrast increased pressure on President Biden to act, and today his administration said it would support waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to help produce more doses globally.

Previously, the U.S. had been a major holdout over a proposal at the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property protections. But this afternoon, Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, announced the administration’s support.

Ms. Tai said that the U.S. would participate in negotiations over the matter at the W.T.O., adding that they would take time. Further discussions are expected in the coming weeks, as India and South Africa, which proposed the waiver, are preparing a revised plan.

Activists have also said that the waiver must be accompanied by the process known as “tech transfer,” in which patent holders supply technical know-how and personnel. “This is a start,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale University epidemiologist who has been pressing for the waiver. “We need the writing of the text of this waiver now to be transparent and public, but as we have always said, we need tech transfer now.”

Source: The New York Times