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In Reversal, Biden Administration Will Support Waiving Patents for COVID-19 Vaccines

HeadlineMay 06, 2021

In what the World Health Organization is describing as a “monumental moment,” the Biden administration has announced it now supports temporarily waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines. In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.” India and South Africa first proposed the waiver in October, but the United States and other wealthy nations blocked the World Trade Organization from even opening negotiations on the proposal. Supporters of the waiver say the move will help increase the availability of vaccines, but they are also pressing Biden to back waivers on intellectual property rights on COVID treatments and diagnostics, as well.

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