WHO backs TRIPS waiver, no time to ‘worry about patents, profits’, says chief scientist
World Health Organization (WHO) scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Monday supported India and South Africa’s proposal to waive trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) aspects of vaccines COVID-19 at the World Trade Organization (WTO). She also said that the World Health Organization strongly recommends it because now is not the time to worry about the benefits. Currently, several countries around the world, including India, are grappling with a deadly spread of COVID-19 variants.
She mentioned that the Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros, had also spoken in favor of this issue.
“The WHO strongly believes that the TRIPS waiver proposed by India and South Africa should be implemented. DG Tedros has spoken about this often. Now is not the time to worry about patents and benefits amid the pandemic, âadded Soumya, WHO chief scientist. Swaminathan.
India, South Africa and 57 WTO members had proposed waivers of certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement earlier in October 2020 to wage the battle against COVID-19.
Vaccines not easy to manufacture
Speaking further on the matter, the scientist added that it should be done as soon as possible. However, trade experts suggest that WTO negotiations on the proposal could take months as they overcome significant opposition from some member countries. Soumya Swaminathan also explained how difficult it will be if the patent is not implemented for any company.
She also pointed out that the vaccine manufacturing process is not easy.
“So yes, we would like that to happen very quickly in the WTO which must also be accompanied by a transfer of technology because vaccines are complex things to manufacture and it will take a long time for a company to learn how to go. zero if a patent is not implemented, âsaid Soumya Swaminathan.
“ The most important vaccination ”
Health experts, doctors and scientists like Swaminathan have insisted on vaccination to win the fight against COVID-19. A global immunization program must be carried out at a massive level as advised by experts. To ensure the campaign, an increased production of effective tools and technologies at the international level of coordination will be necessary. It will also help each country to have access to vaccines.
The scientist also suggested that there is no need to wait for the official waiver as an exact timeline cannot be predicted at this time due to negotiations. Technology transfer must be initiated on a voluntary basis, added Swaminathan. The fundamental goal of the global healthcare industry is to make sure that if an expert company wants to share vaccine details, nothing should stop them.
She finally felt that the equitable distribution of vaccines should take place in the second half of the year, as there is currently a huge demand and insufficient supply. Vaccines should be a priority for health workers and those in severe conditions, for now, according to the senior scientist.
(Entries from ANI) (Image: ANI)