World Nobel Prize winners plead for temporary abolition of patents

Nobel Prize winners plead for temporary abolition of patents

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648x415 une dose du vaccin contre le covid 19 d astrazeneca

One dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine. – Nasser Nasser / AP / SIPA

In an open letter, Nobel Prize winners and former heads of state or government on Thursday called on Joe Biden to join a proposal for the temporary lifting of patents on vaccines against the coronavirus.

Such a suspension is “a vital and necessary step to put an end to the pandemic”, estimate the some 170 signatories, including the former French president François Hollande, the former head of the British government Gordon Brown, the former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

A proposal tabled by South Africa and India

“We are encouraged by reports that your administration is considering a temporary lifting of intellectual property rights from the WTO during the pandemic, as proposed by South Africa and India,” according to the signed letter also from several awards. Nobel like Muhammad Yunus (Peace), Joseph Stiglitz (economics), Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (medicine). Filed at the WTO on October 2 by South Africa and India, the proposal has garnered the support of dozens of developing and disadvantaged countries while the developed countries or which host the headquarters of large pharmaceutical groups that have developed vaccines tend to oppose it.

The text proposes to grant a temporary exemption from certain obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) so that any country can produce vaccines without worrying about patents. Most countries in the world are trying to vaccinate their populations as quickly as possible to try to stop the progression of the disease, and its variants that risk compromising the effectiveness of vaccines.

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