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US Tries to Free Covid-19 Vaccine From Patent Dominance While Bringing Other Supplies to India | India News

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WASHINGTON: After a belated recognition of the Covid-19 tsunami that struck India through a second wave, the United States is doing everything it can to accelerate aid of all kinds, including vaccines, oxygen, ventilators, therapies and personnel, in middle of the alarm. that there could be a global relapse if New Delhi does not take control of the situation.
Mission mode, hands on, 24 hours a day are some of the terms used to describe the frenzied action in Washington to save both its reputation, damaged by its slow initial response, and the situation in India, which is being accused himself from a sloppy response to the pandemic.
While there is an immediate and gradual supply and urgent provision of life-saving resources such as oxygen, personal protective equipment (PPE), rapid diagnostic tests for children, and therapies such as Remdesivir, the Biden administration is also embarking on the goal. largest and longest to build India. capacity, because American supplies can only do so much given the scale of the problem in India due to its massive population and rampant pandemic.
At the heart of the problem and the solution are vaccines, of which India has been a major producer and also a committed supplier to the world, largely cornered by wealthy nations. But since even the 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines that Washington has (and is not using because it has three other vaccines that it considers more reliable) are not enough to address India’s problem, the Biden administration is trying to release vaccines from the claws of India. patent protection.
On Monday, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai held a virtual meeting with the leaders of AstraZeneca and Pfizer to discuss, among other things, a proposed exemption from the provisions of the WTO agreement on Aspects of Rights of Trade-Related Intellectual Property (TRIPS) for the Covid-19 pandemic. amid intense pressure from many legislators and activists to address predatory patent protection.
The outcome of the talks is still unclear, but there is tremendous pressure on the White House to obtain a waiver to address the Covid situation.
More than a dozen US lawmakers have written to President Biden, urging him to publicly support a temporary patent exemption for Covid-19 vaccines that would allow countries to manufacture treatments locally and accelerate the global lifesaving vaccination effort.
“Your administration has the opportunity to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration to our nation’s global reputation and restore America’s public health leadership on the world stage,” the senators wrote, adding: “To carry the pandemic to an end faster and save the lives of Americans and people around the world, we ask that you prioritize people over drug company profits by reversing Trump’s position and announcing U.S. support for the exemption from TRIPS of the WTO “.
Significantly, the Indian reading of the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden brought up the subject of the IP exemption, while the White House reading did not.
Amid heated debate on the issue in a US political system that feeds on the pharmaceutical lobby, the Biden administration has vowed to do the best it can do right away: urgent oxygen, therapies. PPE and staff to help.
Officials said a CDC strike team is being dispatched to India to work with their counterparts in various areas, including laboratory services; surveillance and epidemiology; bioinformatics to sequence and model disease; infection, prevention and control; launch of vaccines; and risk communication.
The broad-spectrum effort is indicative of the danger India’s surge poses to the rest of the world at a time when the US itself is on the verge of getting a measure of the pandemic after being the worst hit country. for her. The weekly moving average of Covid-19 cases in the US has fallen to just over 50,000 after rising near 300,000 at its peak, even as India, which had almost gained control, has now seen more than 300,000 cases for six consecutive days.
“This is not very complicated. India is an ally and a democracy in a vital region. New strains are likely to emerge the longer we wait. Some could be vaccine resistant and / or more lethal. Millions could die. The United States should ship. help for moral, political and geostrategic reasons as soon as possible, “warned political analyst Jonah Goldberg in a tweet, echoing the concern of many public intellectuals, scientists and even companies and industries.
In pledging its 60 million AstraZeneca stock in other countries, US officials did not say how much would go to India, whose requirement will be vast and can best be met domestically if Washington loosens control over raw materials and ownership issues. intellectual. Another fear in Washington is that the supply of AstraZeneca vaccine that has not been approved for home use will be seen as a transfer of unused vaccines to other countries. Although officials say it is considered safe for use, the FDA has not yet officially certified it.

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