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US backs proposal to waive vaccine patents 'in service of ending this pandemic'

6 May 2021 8:56 AM
Tags:
United States
Joe Biden
Brooks Spector
IP
Intellectual property
Covid-19 vaccines
Katherine Tai

Refilwe Moloto interviews Brooks Spector, a US foreign policy expert and associate editor at Daily Maverick.

The United States will endorse a proposal to give up Intellectual Property (IP) protection for Covid-19 vaccines.

“This is a global health crisis,” said Katherine Tai, a senior government trade official.

“The extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.”

South Africa and India are pushing the World Trade Organisation to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents. © Mariusz Szczygieł/123rf.com

Click here for all our Covid-19-related articles in one place.


Tai said the Biden administration strongly believes in IP protections but “in service of ending this pandemic” supports their waiver.

“The administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”

There are more than 100 countries – led by India and South Africa - lobbying for the temporary suspension of Covid-19 vaccine patents.

Refilwe Moloto interviewed Brooks Spector, a US foreign policy expert and associate editor at Daily Maverick.

This is an outstandingly complicated thing to untangle… The Biden administration reversed its previously held position… The WTO members have yet to vote… The EU and Switzerland – a major vaccine producer - appear seriously opposed…

Brooks Spector, US foreign policy expert

The real bottleneck to production… is the precursor materials that go into making the vaccines…

Brooks Spector, US foreign policy expert

There is much negotiation ahead… Because so much of the basic research for these vaccines was US taxpayer-funded… it’s the kind of thing the US government could do because it had paid for most of the research…

Brooks Spector, US foreign policy expert

It wasn’t a sudden turnaround by the Biden administration…

Brooks Spector, US foreign policy expert

Listen to the interview in the audio below.




6 May 2021 8:56 AM
Tags:
United States
Joe Biden
Brooks Spector
IP
Intellectual property
Covid-19 vaccines
Katherine Tai

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