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Coronavirus vaccine is a proper, not privilege: European Parliament

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  • European Fee and European Parliament differ on challenge of patenting the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • European lawmakers again patent waiver, saying it should improve world entry to reasonably priced COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake and your inaction is killing folks, says left-wing French lawmaker Manon Aubry.

STRASBOURG: The European Fee and European Parliament have differed on the problem of patenting the COVID-19 vaccine. European lawmakers handed on Thursday a decision, with a majority, lifting the patent on the coronavirus vaccine.

The European Fee’s place is that the worldwide patenting system doesn’t permit this, whereas members of the European Parliament say that within the distinctive case of COVID-19, the removing of the patent is important.

“Today, yet again, we are discussing the waiving of patents on vaccines. This should have been clear right from the start,” said left-wing French MEP Manon Aubry. 

Learn extra: Huge Pharma says vaccine patent waiver units harmful precedent

“Millions of lives are at stake and your inaction is killing people,” Aubry said.

She said the patent waiver will enhance global access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines, voluntary licensing and the transfer of know-how and technology, which is key to ramping up global production in the long-term.

The MEP called on the US and UK to abolish the export ban on vaccines and raw materials.

To accelerate the global vaccine rollout, the MEPs demanded the temporary lifting of intellectual property rights protection for COVID-19 vaccines.

In a resolution adopted with 355 votes in favour, 263 against and 71 abstentions, the European Parliament proposed negotiations start for a temporary waiver of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) Agreement on patents to improve global access to affordable COVID-19-related medical products and to address global production constraints and supply shortages. 

Read more: Coronavirus vaccines have helped nine people become billionaires: campaign group

The lawmakers pointed out the threat that an indefinite Trips Agreement waiver would pose to research finance, in particular for researchers, investors, developers and clinical trials.

Voluntary licencing (when the developer of the vaccine decides to whom and under what conditions the patent can be licensed to enable manufacturing) and know-how and technology transfer to countries with vaccine-producing industries are the most important ways to scale and speed up global production in the long term, the lawmakers argued.

To address production bottlenecks, the lawmakers called on the EU “to rapidly eliminate export barriers and to replace its own export authorisation mechanism with export transparency requirements”. 

The US and the UK, for his or her half, ought to “immediately abolish their export ban on vaccines and raw materials”, they stated. 

The lawmakers stated 11 billion doses are wanted to immunise 70% of the world’s inhabitants and solely a fraction of that quantity has been produced.

Vaccine manufacturing in Africa

Because the overwhelming majority of the 1.6 billion vaccine doses administered thus far have gone to vaccine-producing industrialised nations and solely 0.3% to the 29 poorest nations, the EU must assist manufacturing in Africa, the Parliament emphasised. 

Learn extra: Pfizer, BioNTech make enormous pledge at G20 summit to handle COVID vaccine inequality

One other vital automobile to supply vaccines to low earnings economies is the worldwide vaccine distribution mechanism of COVAX, to which the European Parliament inspired contributions.

Transparency for subsequent era vaccines

Lastly, the MEPs demanded the complete disclosure of future advance buy agreements, significantly for subsequent era vaccines, and that these contracts embody transparency necessities for suppliers.

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