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PM Modi calls on the EU to support India and South Africa in patent exemption for Covid vaccines | India News

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi “invited” the EU on Saturday to support India and South Africa’s proposal to renounce patents on Covid-19 vaccines.
The prime minister virtually joined the European Council meeting on Saturday, as a special guest at the invitation of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
In October last year, India and South Africa, together with 57 WTO members, proposed an exemption from certain provisions of the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID -19.
The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.
The proposed relaxations in the agreement’s rules are aimed at ensuring fast and affordable access to vaccines and medicines for developing countries.
The ongoing second wave of Covid-19 in India, with the country recording more than 3 lakh of cases for more than 2 weeks, has led to renewed requests from many, including Pope Francis, for an exemption from patents related to the Covid-19 vaccines.
The reversal of US policy, which supports the waiver of intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines, has further increased pressure on the European Union to follow suit.
However, its leaders have so far stayed away from supporting the proposal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkela has said that waiving the Covid-19 vaccine patent “could affect quality” and has asked the United States to export vaccines to other countries to fill the global shortage.
“We do not believe, in the short term, that it is the magic solution,” said EU Council President Charles Michel on the second day of an EU summit in Portugal. French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that prioritizing the discussion on intellectual property rights now, “is a false debate.”
(With contributions from the agency)

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