Covid vaccine licensing to be discussed as India calls for patent waivers

Covid vaccine licensing to be discussed as India calls for patent waivers

May 4, 2021: -On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said that the Biden administration is planning to distribute the Covid vaccinations to India and other countries now because most Americans have received their doses.

Recently, India has grappled with a staggering increase in new Covid infections. Over the weekend, India reports 400,000 daily cases, making the nation’s cumulative total to 19,557,457 affected patients, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins.

The spike may have been affected by a highly contagious Coronavirus variant, known as B.1.617, which was identified in the country before any other country.

On Friday, the White House announced that India would have travel restrictions as the country works to counter its rise of Covid-19 infections. “We are rushing aid to India,” Klain said in an interview on CBS program “Face the Nation.”

Klain said that the U.S. had sent therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and protective equipment to the largest democracy and raw materials crucial for vaccine production.

“Our U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is going to the WTO to start talks on how we can get this vaccine more widely distributed, more widely licensed, more widely shared,” he said when questioned about the Biden administration would relax patent protections on the coronavirus vaccine.

Klein added that he expected the White House to have more to say regarding the matter in the future.

Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with Biden about lifting the patent protections of the coronavirus vaccine, according to a readout of the call. The relaxation would grant governments quicker and more affordable access to the lifesaving doses.

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it would immediately make raw materials needed for India’s coronavirus vaccine production available. The U.S. response came after Britain, France, and Germany pledged aid to India, the world’s largest democracy. Wealthy nations have come under fire in recent days for hoarding the raw materials needed to make the shots.

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