WTO's COVID deal: more vaccine ‘enabler’ than IP waiver?


Sarah Speight

WTO's COVID deal: more vaccine ‘enabler’ than IP waiver?

Bernsten / Shutterstock.com

The COVID-19 IP agreement promises to enable developing countries more autonomy to produce and distribute vaccines, but it has attracted many critics, finds Sarah Speight.

After several days and sleepless nights, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) finally agreed several key trade initiatives last week, including one that promises to suspend patent protection of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The agreement follows previous discussions between four key continents (the European Union, India, South Africa and the US) aimed at identifying “practical ways of clarifying, streamlining and simplifying how governments can override patent rights, under certain conditions, to enable diversification of production of COVID-19 vaccines”.

At 5am on June 17, a deal was reached between the 164 WTO members. The aims include tackling the inequality of resources seen earlier in the pandemic, due to countries’’ differing levels of infrastructure and finances.

WTO, Covid, Vaccines, waiver, patents