Covid-19International

Amnesty seeks waiver of Covid vax patents

London, June 21 (UNI): Amnesty International on Monday urged the international community to agree to a waiver of the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on Covid-19 treatments so as to remove barriers to global supply.

Amnesty International stressed that the Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted inequalities, with marginalised sections being more adversely affected by the lack of equal access to healthcare. The organisation felt that the way vaccines were produced and distributed only magnified this disparity.

“To reverse this trend, states must remove any potential barriers to boost global supply by agreeing to the proposed TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)… States also must work with COVAX to redistribute doses in a fair, timely and inclusive manner, rather than engaging in bilateral agreements,” the group said in a speech delivered to the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The organisation added that to facilitate access to healthcare, the international community should also prompt pharmaceutical companies to “loosen their grip on intellectual property rights and share knowledge and technology”, including by joining the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Costa Rica to share the vaccine science and technology.

The TRIPS waiver was first proposed by India and South Africa in late 2020, with the states arguing it would help increase vaccine production, particularly in lower-income countries. The initiative was later supported by the WHO.

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