Sumary of The world needs a patent waiver on Covid vaccines. Why is the UK blocking it? | Gabriel Scally:
- As countries from Thailand to the US battle another wave of infections driven by more virulent strains, the UK risks making another historic mistake that could scupper our chance to end this pandemic..
- Public health voices have already warned that if we don’t rapidly vaccinate the world population, our current generation of Covid-19 vaccines could be rendered ineffective within a year..
- As things stand, many countries in the southern hemisphere may not manage to achieve widespread vaccination until 2024..
- The UK is, ministers say, supporting immunisation in low-income countries through Covax, a global vaccine procurement scheme..
- Production is being constrained because pharmaceutical companies have refused to share their vaccine technology, and intellectual property rules prevent countries from creating their own generic versions of the jabs..
- Because of this impediment, we are using just a fraction of the world potential global vaccine manufacturing capacity..
- More than 100 nations, led by India and South Africa, are pushing to temporarily suspend patent rules at the World Trade Organization during this pandemic..
- But the move has been blocked by a small number of countries, including the UK and the US, as well as by the EU..
- By helping block a patent waiver, the UK government is stifling vaccine production, which means many countries will wait years for sufficient doses…