World Health, IP, trade bodies launch joint platform to tackle COVID-19
The leaders of WIPO, WHO, and the WTO said that through the platform countries will be able to access the expertise in places where the three fields cross over in battling the pandemic.
The heads of the global health, Intellectual Property, and trade bodies on June 24, 2021, announced a joint platform to help the countries around the world plug the gaps in accessing the COVID-19 vaccines, technologies, and treatments.
The leaders of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World Health Organisation (WHO), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said that through the platform, countries will be able to access the expertise in places where the three fields cross over in battling the pandemic.
The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Head of WIPO Daren Tang had met on June 15, 2021, when they agreed to work together more closely to support the access to medical technologies to tackle the COVID crisis.
Joint platform to tackle COVID-19 pandemic:
According to the joint statement by the heads, a joint platform will be implemented for tripartite technical assistance to the nations relating to their needs for COVID medical technologies.
The leading, while informing about the platform, also announced a series of workshops to boost the flow of the information in the push to get equitable access to COVID technology.
• The joint platform by WHO, IT, and WTO will provide a ‘one-stop-shop that will make available the complete range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters provided by the organizations as well as the other partners, in a coordinated way.
• The platform to tackle the pandemic will provide support to the states in assessing and prioritizing the unmet needs for Coronavirus vaccines, medicines as well as other related technologies.
• It will also help the countries in making full use of all the available options for accessing such tools, which will include coordinating with other countries going through similar challenges.
Temporary waiver on IP rights for COVID vaccines:
Why the waiver is demanded?
Sharing technology to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has been an increasingly hot topic in the fight against the pandemic.
The World Health Organization has been calling for a temporary waiver on IP rights for Coronavirus vaccines to boost production around the world and thereby increase access to the doses in poorer countries, where the immunization rates are way lower.
Talks were inching forward at the WTO after India and South Africa had put forward a proposal on waiver on IP rights in October 2020. However, the agreements at the global trade body require the consensus of all the member states.
Opposition against the notion:
The notion for temporary waiver on IP rights for vaccines has met with fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical giants as well as some of their host countries, who have continued to insist that patents are not the main roadblocks to scale up the production of the vaccines and have warned that the move can hamper the innovation.
COVID-19 vaccination in high and low-income countries:
Nearly 2.8 billion doses of Coronavirus vaccines have been injected in at least 216 territories around the world.
In the rich and high-income countries, as categorized by the World Bank, 76 doses have been injected per 100 inhabitants.
On the other hand, for the low-income countries, the figure stands at just one dose per 100 in the 29 countries.