UN chief extends support for India’s patent waiver initiative for Covid products
The United Nations:
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has supported India and South Africa’s initiative at the WTO to waive intellectual property protection for COVID-vaccines and products. 19, although he cautioned that “technology transfer” must be backed up by “technical support”.
India has worked with South Africa and other partners of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to seek relaxation of the standards of the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in order to ” ensure rapid and affordable access to vaccines and drugs for developing countries. countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Well, my belief is that we need a full program. One is, of course, to tackle the intellectual property issues and I support the initiative that has been taken by South Africa and India with regard to TRIPS, by agitating the TRIPS regulations. within the framework of the World Trade Organization, ”Guterres said at a press conference at the G7 summit in London on Friday.
Guterres responded as to whether he supports measures to waive patents related to COVID-19 vaccines.
However, the UN chief added “this is not enough” and there needs to be strong cooperation between governments and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that licenses are available, “but also to ensure that technology transfers and support is available. Because otherwise, just having the license available won’t necessarily solve the problem. “
The United States has backed India and South Africa’s initiative at the WTO, seen as a breakthrough in the global fight against the deadly pandemic, sparking hopes of expanding vaccine supply at affordable rates for developing / underdeveloped countries.
Guterres added that it is also essential to take a serious look at supply chains.
“It’s a very complex supply chain, so we really need a concerted coordination between all the countries that can produce vaccines, or [those who] will be able to do this if properly helped and, by interacting with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that we have the best possible results, ”he said.
Guterres explained that companies can make reasonable profits and simultaneously help increase production capacity.
“Obviously, intellectual property issues are important in this regard. I understand that companies need to be supported in order to … have guarantees that their investments …, indeed, become credible. So, I’m not asking for any expropriation measure or anything.
“What I am asking for is fairness in the way things are managed and a cooperative mechanism that will allow companies to achieve the reasonable profits they are supposed to make, but, at the same time, the ability to production to be doubled and that all those who have the capacity to make these vaccines have the conditions to do so, ”he said.
Guterres stressed that vaccines should be viewed as global public goods and should be available and affordable to all.
“There is no way to defeat a virus that is spreading through developing countries like wildfire and may be at risk of mutating. Mutations follow (Charles) Darwin’s laws of evolution, which means that it is the worst virus that tends to survive and multiply and one day eventually become immune to vaccines.
Guterres stressed that it is in everyone’s best interests that everyone get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, the way immunization is going around the world is now very uneven and very unfair, but I am encouraged by the announcements that have been made in the run-up to this G7 meeting,” he said.
The United States has pledged to share 500 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine with countries facing a dose shortage. The UK has made a commitment of 100 million doses. Similar pledges, though smaller shipments, have been made by other G7 countries.
In addition, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank announced a $ 50 billion program to support immunization in developing countries.
Guterres noted that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he expects the G7 to reach 1 billion doses thanks to commitments from individual countries, a development he welcomed.
“But it is important to say that we must recognize that we are at war with the virus, a very dangerous virus which causes enormous suffering and destroys many prospects for progress in the global economy. To defeat the virus, and for to be able to strengthen our weapons against the virus – and the most important of these weapons is vaccination – to strengthen these weapons, we must act with the logic, the sense of urgency and the priorities of a war economy. far from getting there. “
The UN chief stressed that there is a need to have a global immunization plan, and “we need those in power to be in charge of designing and implementing this immunization plan. global “.
“This global immunization plan will of course have to address intellectual property issues, licensing issues, but also supply chains to ensure there are no disruptions in the supply chain. Let’s not forget that for each vaccine there are probably more than 100 components produced in different parts of the world, ”he said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)