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The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will support the World Trade Organization with the temporary suspension of patents on COVID-19 vaccines, at least until the end of the pandemic.
The measure was announced in a press release by the U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai. The document details that the United States will participate in the efforts to make the negotiation happen.
“These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures,” wrote Tai on Twitter.
Similarly, the representative indicated that the administration is also committed to helping increase production of materials needed for vaccines.
The US supports the waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic and we’ll actively participate in @WTO negotiations to make that happen. pic.twitter.com/96ERlboZS8
— Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) May 5, 2021
WHO welcomes the release of vaccine patents
The announcement was celebrated by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom:
This is a monumental moment in the fight against #COVID19. The commitment by @POTUS Joe Biden & @USTradeRep @AmbassadorTai to support the waiver of IP protections on vaccines is a powerful example of 🇺🇸 leadership to address global health challenges. pic.twitter.com/3iBt3jfdEr
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 5, 2021
The WHO director also argued that efforts to end the pandemic must be sustained. “Now let’s all move together swiftly, in solidarity, building on the ingenuity & commitment of scientists who produced life-saving #COVID19 vaccines.”