WHO strongly supports TRIPS waiver on COVID-19 vaccines


By Reena BhardwajGenève [Switzerland], May 11 (ANI): Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), said Monday (local time) that the world health body strongly believes that the waiver of human rights aspects Trade-related Intellectual Property (TRIPS) to COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be made.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Swaminathan said: “WHO strongly believes that the TRIPS waiver proposed by India and South Africa should be implemented. DG Tedros spoke about it often. Now is not the time to worry about patents and profits. in the midst of the pandemic. “In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 WTO members proposed waivers of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.

Trade experts say WTO negotiations on a waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines could take months – provided they can overcome significant opposition from some member countries. Stressing that this time is crucial, Dr Swaminath said: “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 that will take a long time. it is time for a company to learn from scratch if a patent is not implemented. ”Scientists like Swaminathan have repeatedly said that the only way to successfully combat this pandemic is to lead a global mass vaccination campaign on a scale and on a schedule never undertaken before. This requires the production of effective tools and technologies to combat large-scale COVID-19 and coordinated global distribution efforts.

Although the WHO chief scientist did not predict the timing of the waiver due to the negotiations, she suggested there was no need to wait for it and start the technology transfer on a voluntary basis. .

“If a company decides to share their know-how, their expertise and their protocols for making a vaccine that has nothing at all to prevent them from including a licensing agreement and that’s what we’re trying to achieve promote, we say there are many ways to do it, ”she told ANI.

Speaking on vaccine equity around the world, she said this global strategy should be one of solidarity and collaboration.

“This should start to improve in the second half of the year, when vaccines are scaled up, but in the coming months supply is below demand and so we need to use supplies wisely and prioritize vaccinations of high priority groups. , such as health workers and those with underlying illnesses, ”she said.

India is currently facing a devastating second wave of COVID-19 that has swept the country, crushing the country’s health infrastructure and overloading frontline medical workers. (ANI)

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