The United States will support the temporary release of patents for COVID-19 vaccines. The decision is historic and a complete turnaround Since the Trump administration’s refusal of a proposal to that effect, which last fall presented 100 countries led by India and South Africa.
«This is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures«said Katherine Tai, the Biden Administration’s chief trade officer, announcing her support for an initiative that will be presented again in June at the World Trade Organization.
“The Administration firmly believes in the protections of intellectual property, but with the objective of ending this pandemic, it supports the exemption of those protections”Tai clarifies when announcing that the United States will actively participate in negotiations that are already taking place and that it has all the signs of prospering at the beginning of June at the meeting of the body’s council.
These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures.
– Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) May 5, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Patents
Let’s be clear. Vaccines are currently the only effective method to stop the pandemic and emerge from a terrible global health and economic crisis. If the vaccination programs in the ‘first world’ are reaching a cruising pace and by the end of the summer 70% of its population will be vaccinated, the rest of the planet is far from these figures and the situation in countries like India is absolutely desperate .
The virus does not understand borders as we have seen and will continue to arrive in even more dangerous variants if we do not stop it. The temporary liberalization of patents for COVID-19 vaccines aims to increase production in third countries that do not have the capacity to do so by themselves and where the distribution of pharmaceutical companies does not reach. Until now, the number of vaccines delivered in the ‘other world’ has been minimal.
The big laboratories do not agree as expected, arguing that the release of patents «Will put innovation at risk» and it would discourage research for new drugs. And against new pandemics that some scientists warn that they are going to arrive. They also cite that the measure will not solve the bottleneck in the supply chain and that not all countries have the capacity to replicate the technology they use.
Be that as it may, everything indicates that the temporary release of these patents will prosper. It would really be embarrassing if the European Union and the rest of the rich countries that flatly refused to approve it last fall do not do so now once the United States has changed its strategy. The director of the World Health Organization has welcomed Biden’s announcement and has indicated that we are in “A pivotal moment in the fight against covid”.
Joe Biden continues to amaze the world
His position on vaccines can be understood as moral, as diplomatic, as strategic, but it is also economic. If you want to recover world trade and return to ‘normality’ you can’t outrun giants like India. Nor to any country. Certainly, Joe Biden’s first 100 days at the helm of the most powerful nation on the planet are being productive, with the passage of broad legislative packages to reverse Trump’s policies.
The most important is the multi-million dollar investment as part of the agenda «Build Back Better»(Rebuild Better) to boost economic activity after the pandemic. The total amount of three trillion dollars is unmatched by anything that is being done on the planet to advance post-COVID ‘normality’ and a part of the investment will be financed with tax hike for large companies and higher incomes. Almost nothing…
The change of opinion against climate change including the return to the Paris Agreement or the creation of the new federal health agency ARPA-H to “end cancer” are other novel measures. The approval of the release of patents for COVID-19 vaccines is another sign of the change in direction of an administration that is surprising the world. And leaving out of the game other administrations (mainly European) supposedly more ‘progressive’.