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Opinion

BRICS calls for a fair and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines

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Before the WTO accepts a proposal from India and South Africa to waive patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) group has said it will work to achieve “fair justice. , equitable and affordable ”Vaccine distribution.

During the Brics Summit on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the group to back India and South Africa’s move to secure exemption from intellectual property agreements for vaccines. The proposal already faces opposition from developed countries, including member states of the United States and the European Union (EU).

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is expected to accept the proposed patent protection exemptions on Friday, people familiar with the events said Wednesday.

The Moscow Declaration adopted at the end of the Brics Summit said that members of the grouping “will work to ensure that, when [the vaccine is] available, it is disseminated in a fair, equitable and affordable way ”. The statement did not make any direct reference to the proposal by India and South Africa.

The statement recognized the importance of “extensive immunization” to prevent, contain, and halt the transmission of the coronavirus, and supported cooperative approaches to accelerate research, development, and production of vaccines and therapies.

Taking part in an online discussion on Tuesday, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said that India will do its best to make vaccines affordable and accessible to people around the world.

The proposal submitted by India and South Africa to the TRIPS Council on October 2 stated that it is “important for WTO members to work together to ensure that intellectual property rights such as patents, industrial designs, copyrights and protection of Undisclosed information does not create barriers. ” to timely access to affordable medical products, including vaccines and drugs, or to increased research, development, manufacturing and supply of essential medical products to combat Covid-19 ”.

“As new diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines for Covid-19 are developed, there is great concern about how they will be available quickly, in sufficient quantities and at an affordable price to meet global demand,” the proposal said, adding that countries in Development may face difficulties in using flexibilities under TRIPS.

Among the BRIC states, Russia approved a vaccine, although experts say this was done without proper testing, and China gave emergency approval to three vaccines, including one intended only for military personnel. India has three vaccines that are in human trials.

Despite the currently strained ties between India and China, Chinese President Xi Jinping also offered to work with India on vaccines during the Brics Summit. “Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on Phase III vaccine clinical trials and we are ready to cooperate with South Africa and India as well,” he said.

Developing countries are seeking help from India’s extensive vaccine manufacturing and distribution capacity and the government hosted a special briefing for the diplomatic corps on November 6 to discuss possible vaccine collaboration.

Hindustan Times

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