FThe US government supports the suspension of patents for corona vaccines in the fight to contain the pandemic worldwide. The United States is behind the protection of intellectual property, but the pandemic is a global crisis that requires extraordinary steps, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday. America would work within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a corresponding agreement to be drawn up. Because of the principle of consensus and the complexity of the matter, this could be time-consuming, it said.
The goal of the US government is “to get as many safe and effective vaccinations as quickly as possible to as many people as possible,” said Tai. More than 100 WTO member countries want to suspend the patents for the vaccines so that more companies in more countries can manufacture vaccines. Important countries of origin of the pharmaceutical industry such as the United States and company representatives have so far blocked the project initiated by South Africa and India.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the announced support as a “historic decision”. This is an important milestone in the fight against the pandemic, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Twitter on Wednesday. The decision is a striking example of American leadership on global health issues, he wrote. This could combat global inequality in vaccines in order to work together to “end this pandemic”.
The declaration follows a speech given by Chancellor Angela Merkel to the group of seven leading industrialized countries (G7) on Wednesday. There Merkel said she hoped that the United States would also start supplying the world with vaccines “in the foreseeable future”. At the moment this is still “almost not” the case.
Germany is so far the largest donor to the international vaccine alliance Covax. Merkel emphasized that she was counting on very close cooperation between the EU and the USA in future to supply the world with vaccines. This will also be necessary in the coming years.