Make coronavirus vaccines patent-free, former world leaders urge Biden
Joe Bidenis being urged to suspend patents for coronavirus vaccines.
- The move would allow developing countries to produce the vaccines on their own.
- The request came in a letter signed by over 100 Nobel laureates and 75 former world leaders.
US pharmaceutical companies have developed the world's most effective vaccines for the coronavirus, helping Americans get inoculated faster than people in most other countries. Now President Joe Biden is being urged not just to share the vaccines with the less fortunate, but to share the knowledge that would allow developing nations to manufacture the vaccines themselves.
In a letter on Wednesday, over 100 Nobel laureates and 75 former world leaders called on Biden to suspend vaccine patents, by way of a waiver at the World Trade Organization, calling it "a vital and necessary step to bringing an end to this pandemic."They added that this would "save lives and advance us towards global herd immunity."
A waiver would allow
Their opposition is shared by the private sector.The US Chamber of Commerce called such proposals "misguided" and a "distraction" from efforts already underway to share vaccines with the developing world. The
"Countries must stop obstructing and show the leadership required to deliver on the 'global solidarity' they have so often declared during the pandemic," Dr. Christos Christous, the group's president, said in a statement. "It's time to champion access to medical tools for everyone, where they live."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already started shipping vaccines through its COVAX initiative, which aims to provide poorer countries with enough doses to cover 20% of their population. But the letter's signatories described its impact as "limited, while welcome."They added that, at the current pace, "many nations will be left waiting until at least 2024 to achieve mass
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