After the US extended support to a proposal to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) lauded the Biden administration calling it a 'monumental moment' in the fight against COVID-19. Lauding the commitment of President Joe Biden, the WHO chief said that the decision was a powerful example of US leadership taken to address the global health challenges.
"I commend for this historic decision for Vaccine Equity, prioritizing the well-being of all people everywhere at a critical time. Now let's all move together swiftly, in solidarity, building on the ingenuity & commitment of scientists who produced life-saving COVID-19 vaccines," said Dr Tedros.
"The White House support for the temporary waiving IP on COVID-19 vaccines reflects the wisdom and moral leadership of the US to support Vaccine Equity and work to end this pandemic," he added.
This is a monumental moment in the fight against #COVID19. The commitment by @POTUS Joe Biden & @USTradeRep @AmbassadorTai to support the waiver of IP protections on vaccines is a powerful example of 🇺🇸 leadership to address global health challenges. pic.twitter.com/3iBt3jfdEr— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 5, 2021
US Trade representative Katherine Tai on Wednesday announced that the Biden administration was of the firm belief to waiver the patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines in service of ending the pandemic. The waiver, which was originally proposed by India and South Africa now has the support of the United States even as Britain and European Union withhold support.
“This is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines. We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved,” Tai said in a statement.
The joint proposal by India and South Africa, which received backing from the WHO in October 2020, seeks waivers in rules that relate to copyright, industrial designs, patents and the protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets related to the COVID-19 vaccine.