Importance of US statement of waiving patent on covid vaccine

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protection, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID – 19 vaccine. The Administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.” said, Katherine Tie US trade representative in a statement. The statement further says, “extraordinary circumstances of Covid – 19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.”

In India’s context, you may curse your government for being unable to protect lives from the wrath of the corona. But was India’s prime minister, who first raised his voice to the international community. As to waive their patent rights on the corona vaccine. The US on the first hand turned down this appeal but now conceded.

Waiving patent rights from corona vaccines would lead to the availability of cheaper vaccines to people at large around the globe. India holds the patent rights of Covaxin, the most successful Covid vaccine. While the patent rights of the second vaccine Covishield is with Britain.
This is a masterstroke against Poonawala’s shifting/expanding to the production of AstraZeneca or Covishield to Britain with an investment of 2000crs.

AstraZeneca vs Pfizer

This may be one of the reasons why the US agreed to waive the patent to cut the forthcoming competition to Pfizer. Since India is already selling Covishield at such an economic price that fetching exorbitant profit is almost impossible.

Though India on behalf of lower and middle-income countries at WTO to facilitate to do away patents on vaccines against Covid. Many other human rights organizations joined their voice to the cause.
Also, the powerful pharmaceutical lobby tried its strong enough to not let this happen. But finally, it came as wished for.

Reasons for the demand of waiving patent rights and their benefits are against the present situation. As only pharma companies having patent rights can manufacture Covid vaccine. But once a patent revoked, the recipes allowed to share without any embargo. Hence, once the formula is shared any company which has infrastructure and technology can produce Covid vaccines. Thus, this may have immediate positive effects. Firstly, vaccines will be available at a more affordable price. Secondly, this will be a great tool to overcome the present vaccine shortage.

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Shreesh Sinha

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