A long-awaited intellectual property waiver for the COVID-19 vaccine has been reached by the United States, European Union, India, and South Africa.
There are still some elements of the consensus agreement that need to be finalized, such as whether the patent waivers will last three years or five years. A comprehensive WTO waiver that had been supported by the United States would apply only to COVID-19 vaccine patents.
According to some source, the talks has described the text as a tentative agreement among the four World Trade Organization members that requires formal approval from the parties ahead of making it official. A WTO agreement must be approved by all 164 member countries before it can be adopted.
As per the document authorization, use of “patented subject matter required for the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines without the consent of the right holder to the extent necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic”.
To grant knowledge to many countries lacking expertise, especially for advanced mRNA-type vaccines, it said IP rights would also be waived for ingredients and processes necessary to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine.