World Health Organization Advocates Suspending Intellectual Property of COVID-19 Vaccines

    In order for a more equal and just global distribution

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    The World Health Organization (WHO) advocated taking seriously the suspension of patents on the vaccines that are being developed today in the world against COVID-19 in order to achieve equity in their distribution.

    The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pointed out that, if the whole planet wants practical solutions to stop this disease, we must think about the exemption of intellectual property.

    World conflicts cease-fire

    Regarding the resolution approved this past Friday by the UN Security Council on the ceasefire of all armed conflicts to allow vaccination against COVID-19 in conflict zones, Adhanom said that being in favor of equity is important, but more concrete steps must be taken.

    “I am happy that the Security Council has voted in favor of equity in Vaccines to increase production, immunization and end this Pandemic as soon as possible,” he said. However, he stressed, in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights there are provisions for sharing intellectual property, but this issue is still ‘the elephant in the room’ that no one wants to talk about.

    Intellectual property and cooperation

    When we talk about intellectual property we see a lack of cooperation and serious resistance. This Pandemic is unprecedented and the virus has taken the entire world hostage. If the provision cannot be applied now, then when”? exclaimed Adhanom.

    Recently, India and South Africa made a proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a provision of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 Vaccines. With this step, costs would be reduced, there would be a free flow of medicines, knowledge transfer and technology around the world. The idea, publicly endorsed by 90 countries, is aimed at developing and middle-income nations, but it does not yet have the support of the European Union and remains under study by the WTO.

    Powerful nations oppose the initiative

    The head of the WHO showed his support a few days after that initiative is debated again in the General Council of the WTO, which is opposed by many of the states where large pharmaceutical companies are based, such as the United States, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.}

    Adhanom called on the most advanced countries to reduce or avoid unilateral agreements for the purchase of vaccines with pharmaceutical companies, especially those within the COVAX program of distribution of doses around the world. “I understand that governments have an obligation to protect their own, but the best way to do that is to suppress the coronavirus at the same time everywhere,” he said.
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