Rights Group Urges Int'l Community To Waive COVID Vaccine Patents To Ensure Global Supply

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st June, 2021) A prominent human rights organization on Monday called on the international community to agree to the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on COVID-19 treatments in a bid to remove barriers to global supply.

Commenting on the UN human rights agency's report on state response to pandemics, Amnesty International said that the outbreak of COVID-19 had highlighted inequalities, with women and marginalized groups more affected by the lack of equal access to healthcare. The organization also noted that the way vaccines were produced and distributed only magnified this disparity.

"To reverse this trend, States must remove any potential barriers to boost global supply by agreeing to the proposed TRIPS Waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ... States also must work with COVAX to redistribute doses in a fair, timely and inclusive manner, rather than engaging in bilateral agreements," the group said in a speech delivered to the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

As part of measures to facilitate access to the right to health, the international community should also prompt pharmaceutical companies to "loosen their grip on intellectual property rights and share knowledge and technology," including by joining the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Costa Rica to share the vaccine science and technology.

The TRIPS waiver was first proposed by India and South Africa in late 2020, with the states arguing it would help increase vaccine production, particularly in lower-income countries. The initiative was later supported by the WHO.