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Biden says he plans to back WTO IP waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

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By Andrea Shalal, Jeff Mason and David Lawder

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This just in:

The head of the [WHO] says US President Joe Biden's plan to back a waiver on intellectual property rights on vaccines to boost global production is a "monumental moment in the fight against COVID-19". Mr Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind a proposed World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, bowing to mounting pressure from US Democrats and more than 100 other countries . . . The United States' endorsement of the proposal now could pave the way for the proposal to be endorsed by all members. The group is set to meet in October to again discuss the proposal.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-06/joe-biden-supports-waiver-of-covid-19-vaccine-ip/100119704

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I book marked this article last month. Hans Sauer, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President for Intellectual Property at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), pointed out several practical legal difficulties associated with the WTO measure:

Even if it were to pass out of the WTO, the waiver would still have to be implemented under the national laws of the WTO member countries. No explanation has been provided as to how up to 164 countries would be expected to quickly amend multiple statutes in their legal codes, or which form these amendments would take. Curiously, close to half of the waiver-supporting countries are already exempt from TRIPS anyway, and are effectively demanding to be free of rules that don’t apply to them.The most likely result of the proposed waiver would be a chaotic global patchwork of national laws that would linger at various stages of national implementation for years after the end of the pandemic. [FN hotlink omitted].

https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2021/04/19/waiving-ip-rights-during-times-of-covid-a-false-good-idea/id=132399/

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Big Pharma group up in arms after Biden signals support for profit-threatening patent waiver on Covid vaccines :

Worldwide, the Big Pharma have been making Big money all the time, at the expense of many poor people. All they want is profit, more profit, greatest profit..

They are too Big/rich/powerful to be controlled, let alone taking instruction from any president.

The pandemic is adding tens of billions of dollars to their coffer, making them extremely filthy hyper-rich. Where is the need to talk about human conscience?

Would they be bothered??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

India has been pushing for this waiver and Modi talked to Biden about this.

The crisis in India is of its own making. There is absolutely no reason why countries where the majority of vaccine research takes place should step in to solve third world problems.

mRNA technology was developed and perfected after years of R&D in the West, so why should other countries be allowed to take advantage without paying their fair share? On top of that, there is a big chance that the technology might get stolen by Russian or Chinese vaccine makers if this waiver is granted.

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The crisis in India is of its own making. There is absolutely no reason why countries where the majority of vaccine research takes place should step in to solve third world problems.

Aside from the obvious moral, ethical and humanitarian reasons as to why the US should help, the country could really use some good karma after the crapshow past few years.

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If the US Pharma groups lobby against this or it takes too long, Biden should nationalise them.

The bottlenecks of vaccine supply need to be erased speedily before dangerous new variants become dominant.

If Big Pharma's shareholders consider new variants to represent a guaranteed income for years to come, they are idiots. We have been lucky so far. A serious, aggressive variant could make the last year look like a walk in the park. We cannot allow any nation to become the weakest link. That includes the poorest nations and North Korea.

Unless of course big Pharma, who were very quick to come up with vaccines, know more about Covid than they are letting on.

If the origins of Covid had been examined by detectives, rather than a quasi-diplomatic theatre troupe from the WHO, they would have begun by asking who had the most to gain from the emergence of the virus.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

WTO decisions require a consensus of all 164 members.

Bloomberg reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is opposed to lifting IP protections on vaccines, saying it would create "severe complications" for vaccine production, "The limiting factor for the production of vaccines are manufacturing capacities and high quality standards, not the patents," a government spokeswoman told the news service. "The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and this has to remain so in the future." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-06/merkel-pushes-back-on-vaccine-patent-waiver-in-clash-with-biden

Germany has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995.

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If the US Pharma groups lobby against this or it takes too long, Biden should nationalise (sic) them.

In the US that is legally impossible to do. The Federal courts would not permit it.

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mRNA technology was developed and perfected after years of R&D in the West, so why should other countries be allowed to take advantage without paying their fair share? On top of that, there is a big chance that the technology might get stolen by Russian or Chinese vaccine makers if this waiver is granted.

Huh? mRNA vaccines have been available for animal use since the 1990s. There are human mRNA vaccines for rabies, Zika, cytomegalovirus, and influenza that have not yet been licensed. The technology has been around for a while but most of the research in its use in humans was for cancer cures along with cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases where the method of delivery caused serious side effects and the outcomes were poor. Research on mRNA vaccines has gone on around the world before Covid-19 arrived on the scene.

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"Huh? mRNA vaccines have been available for animal use since the 1990s. Research on mRNA vaccines has gone on around the world before Covid-19 arrived on the scene."

Nowhere did I dispute that.

Research at University of Wisconsin managed to make mRNA work in mice. Later on Kariko, the Hungary-born researcher pursued research on mRNA at University of Pennsylvania inspite of lack of grants. All she got was a demotion in return.

Later on researchers at MIT and Harvard recognized the potential of mRNA in obtaining stem cells. These people went on to collaborate and formed the firm Moderna.

So tell me, if so many people in the West collaborated, developed and perfected mRNA after years of trying, why should countries like India be allowed to take advantage of IP waivers?

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come under intensifying pressure to share U.S. vaccine supply and technology to fight the virus around the globe.

The U.S. has been sharing its technology through normal channels, the problem with vaccine supply has nothing to do with IP.

Total cave by Biden here, poor move... why bother to develop a vaccine under Biden if he’s just gonna declare it be shared for free?

The profit incentive is why we have vaccines developed at all.

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