Friday, Jan 21 2022 | Time 02:37 Hrs(IST)

Biden calls for intellectual property protection waiver for COVID vaccines

Biden calls for intellectual property protection waiver for COVID vaccines

Washington, Nov 27 (UNI) As international concern is rising over a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, US President Joe Biden has called on countries attending a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting next week to waive intellectual property protections on coronavirus vaccines.
Biden in a statement on Friday said the discovery of the new variant demonstrates that the pandemic will not end until the entire world has equal access to vaccines.
Following reports of spread of new variants several countries, including the US, announced travel restrictions from people from countries in southern Africa.
Emergence of the new variant was reported just days before WTO officials as well as 164 member states are scheduled to meet on November 30 in Geneva.
India and South Africa have earlier proposed to waive intellectual property (IP) rights for Covid-19 vaccines and supplies.
The European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland opposed such a move.
Switzerland’s ambassador to the WTO Didier Chambovey on Thursday said the country was open to compromise but remained opposed to a full waiver, reports Al Jazeera.
The US president on Friday said the US has donated more vaccines worldwide than all other countries combined. Earlier this year, the US publicly announced its support for IP waivers for Covid-19 vaccines.
“I call on the nations gathering next week for the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting to meet the U.S. challenge to waive intellectual property protections for Covid vaccines, so these vaccines can be manufactured globally,” Biden’s statement read.
“I endorsed this position in April; this news today reiterates the importance of moving on this quickly.”
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” Biden added.
Following the reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have restricted travel from several southern African nations over health concerns.

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