Intellectual Property Waiver for COVID Vaccines | Daily Current Affairs 2021

Intellectual Property Waiver for COVID Vaccines

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U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration recently announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

  • The US will further negotiate with the World Trade Organization to waive Intellectual property for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • This will help in the large-scale production of COVID-19 vaccines in middle-income countries.

Background:

  • Earlier this month, India and South Africa have submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.
  • Regarding this, as many as 40 members of the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) have discussed a proposal submitted by India and South Africa for relaxing certain provisions in intellectual property (IP) agreement with a view to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current Scenario:

  • 100 countries of the 164 members are in favour of waiving the IP.
  • Recently Australia and New Zealand also agreed on the waiver.

About Intellectual Property Waiver for COVID-19 vaccine:

  • IP right is a monopoly granted by a government to an inventor.
  • It means that the others cannot copy their invention.
  • It can be a process patent or a product patent.
  • The developing countries are arguing that intellectual property is an obstacle in increasing the production of vaccines.
  • The production of COVID-19 vaccines in middle-income countries has been happening through licensing or technology transfer agreements. Therefore, in order to ramp up the production of the COVID-19 vaccine production, it is essential to waive off (remove) the Intellectual Property Rights for the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In simple terms, an IPR waiver means that when a company has produced a vaccine, the others can immediately copy its composition produce their own. This will increase vaccine production and decrease vaccine costs.

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