Better late than never, but work now – global issue

  • Opinions By Jomo Kwame Sundaram (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Inter Press Service

WHO’s new plan
Perhaps frustrated after being ignored by the governments of major countries and major vaccine producers, the new WHO plan is relatively modest, but hopefully more feasible. Supported by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the vaccination strategy seeks to reduce racist vaccines by 40% in all countries before the end of the year and 70% between 2022.

New forms of vaccination will emerge worldwide. But less than 0.5% of the dose has gone to low-income countries, while less than 5% have been vaccinated in Africa. Thus, more than 55, mainly African countries have largely been left out of this ‘two-track’ vaccination effort.

Worldwide, about 1.5 billion doses of vaccine are being produced each month. The WHO strategy considers it sufficient to achieve the targets, “if they are evenly distributed”. Although more funding is still needed, it is enough to procure most of the vaccines needed by poor countries through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

Despite the past, the DG believes that the strategies could be successful if vaccine-supplying countries and companies prioritize delivery and grants to Kovacs and Avat. He called for sharing knowledge and non-exclusive licenses to increase production capacity.

Obstacles to intellectual property
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is under global epidemic division today. Innovators should be rewarded for their achievements. But U.S. law does not prevent price increases by IP owners. Worst of all, there is no strong incentive for commercial vaccine suppliers to eradicate the disease.

Surprisingly, Pfizer has already revised its business strategy for its main revenue stream so that ‘Booster’ and other Covid-1s are sold from demand. The WHO and other initiatives to encourage voluntary technology and knowledge exchange have gone nowhere because big companies refuse to share knowledge.

Nevertheless, in early January 2020, almost free use of key techniques in genome sequencing and mRNA vaccine development in China – such as NIH-owned patents and CRISPR technology – accelerated the development of such vaccines.

Earlier it was claimed that developing countries are no longer capable of developing new mRNA vaccines are no longer credible. South Africa and Brazil have already made it under their licenses. Independent assessment offers many more – including others in Africa – to do just that.

Requests for waiver of trips to South Africa and India in October 2020 are beyond the 2001 WTO approval of the Public Health Flexibility Act. This allows production using patent-mandatory licensing (CL) in extensible situations during public health emergencies. But the amnesty has been blocked, mainly by wealthy European governments.

The waiver was not originally about vaccinations. When the request was first made, the only vaccine available was in Russian. Request for waiver for temporary IPR suspension-for epidemic duration only CO subject to strict conditions for COVID-19 testing, treatment, equipment, vaccines and other requirements.

In the face of a global crisis demanding urgent action, the European Commission’s position – even a year later – is that TRIPS voluntary licensing (VL) is sufficient. It claims that waivers – even CLs – are not required although both VL and CL are required by country, licenses and patents through patent negotiations.

Since the supply of affordable Covid-1 supplies is still desperately needed, the scale and scope of the current challenge still needs to be discounted. But no developing country – or for that matter, the patent holder – has the means or time to negotiate to meet all the necessary VLs urgently.

Achieving global vaccine parity
For Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center, there is a need to increase output to adequately address vaccine equity, which is considered necessary for a more equitable response. The BU proposal calls for a simultaneous 3-pronged approach to rapidly increase vaccine supply:

    – TRIPS waiver to exceed IP limitation in more production; – Vaccine developers need to know relevant technology and knowledge; – Adequate funding efforts for production and distribution of many more. TRIPS waiver will remove all IP barriers to meet other Covid-1 related requirements.

In contrast, CLs will still require many individual, often lengthy discussions and licenses for each patent involved in creating the necessary items.

Massively increased grants বিশেষ especially vaccine-hoardings and producing countries পেতে could result in many more doses for lower vaccinations. The big rich G7 countries are still far from meeting their own modest billion dose donation target.

Kovacs has achieved about 10% of its promise for more equitable access to vaccines, much less than the two billion doses promised at the end of the year. The moratorium on proposed WHO booster shots should be continued until fair vaccine access is achieved.

Socio-economic inequalities between and within countries have also frustrated epidemic control. Surprisingly, the inequality of vaccines worldwide has exacerbated the adverse effects. Sadly, the international community has a way, but political will is not needed.

The US has lost the opportunity to lead
Half a year ago, President Biden announced that the United States would support a vaccine patent waiver. His vaccine summit before the UN General Assembly was promising, but again did not gain much. He can still unite the world by uniting the world to defeat the epidemic.

Without White House leadership, there would be no urgently needed technology sharing. Since modernity is funded by the federal government, the U.S. president is legally empowered to increase its production and supply, e.g., on a cost-price basis. He can also get Moderena to enable others to make vaccines faster.

Washington can thus ensure that modernity does the necessary work. If Biden wants to lead the world, he still has a chance to lead and win the war against Covid-1. Not doing so means millions more avoidable deaths. Only together can we rise to the greatest challenge of our time.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service

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