U.S. Urged to Support Waiver of Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Rights

Calls on U.S. President Joe Biden to support the temporary waiver of patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines are growing. As the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Terri Ford says: "We are repeating the tragic errors that happened with HIV when the world delayed for ten years the distribution of safe and effective HIV treatment to low- and middle-income countries while people living with HIV in developed countries enjoyed the benefits of life-saving treatment. Millions of people with HIV died needlessly."

The Indian and South African governments, along with 175 former heads of state and governments, WTO member states, and Nobel laureates are calling on Biden to support the waiver that would relax patent rules in order to boost vaccine supplies for the world. In October 2020, South Africa and India formally asked the World Trade Organisation to allow countries to not enforce the 20-year patent monopolies (required under international trade law) on Covid-19 health technologies. While this proposal has garnered support from over 100 countries, it remains vigorously opposed by a group of wealthy countries.

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