The European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan still have reservations about patenting Covid-19 vaccines

A source at the World Trade Organization said today that the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan, among other countries, have maintained their reservations before the World Trade Organization regarding a possible lifting of patents for Coronavirus vaccines.

Proposals to start discussions based on specific texts that would allow intellectual property rights to be waived on vaccines against Covid-19 were welcomed during an informal meeting of the World Trade Organization, AFP reported.

Agence France-Presse quoted the source as saying that a number of member states “continued to express their doubts about the desirability of starting negotiations and requested more time” to analyze the proposals.

These are the countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan.

South Africa and India are leading a campaign to unleash intellectual property rights on coronavirus vaccines so that every country can produce doses.

The French news agency added that these two countries submitted a revised proposal that received timely support from 63 member states of the World Trade Organization.

In addition to raising patents, this proposal wants to extend to treatments, diagnostic tests, medical devices and protective equipment, as well as materials and components needed to manufacture vaccines.

This exemption from intellectual rights will last for at least three years, after which the General Council of the World Trade Organization can decide to extend it if necessary, according to the text of the proposal.

However, there are contradictions over whether protecting intellectual property rights is preventing an effective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and to what extent it is hindering it, adds AFP.

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Also on the use and potential improvement of the flexibility already in place in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property of the World Trade Organization, commonly known as TRIPS.

The source explained to Agence France-Presse that there are reservations about the duration and duration of the assignment of intellectual property rights.

He added that Argentina, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Kenya are some of the countries that want to enter into negotiations.

Switzerland, which has many pharmaceutical companies, believes that the WTO must explore the flexibilities already in place in the TRIPS agreement before surrendering fully.

Meanwhile, the United States is open to opening negotiations on any proposal to find a solution to the current vaccine shortage.

Rich countries and their pharmaceutical industries were initially opposed, but some have changed their minds in the footsteps of the United States.

For its part, China wants to make progress on this issue since the initial proposal was submitted last October.

A new meeting of the TRIPS Council will be held on the 8th and 9th of June.

Agreements at the World Trade Organization need the unanimous support of the 164 member states.

According to Agence France-Presse, more than 1.9 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been applied worldwide, but only 0.3% of that total was administered in 29 poor countries, despite the fact that it is home to 9% of the world’s population. (Telam)

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