• Tue. Jun 22nd, 2021

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Will waiving patents for covid-19 vaccines boost global supplies?

A medical worker transfers a dose of covid-19 vaccine at the Makati Coliseum in the Philippines

A medical worker transfers a dose of covid-19 vaccine at the Makati Coliseum in the Philippines

Credit: Majority World/Shutterstock

“These extraordinary times and circumstances… call for extraordinary measures,” tweeted US trade representative Katherine Tai, as she surprised the world by throwing the country’s backing behind a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights for covid-19 vaccines.

The announcement on 5 May turbo-charged an idea pushed by India, South Africa and many campaigners: that lifting the IP protections on covid-19 vaccines would boost supplies by allowing the vaccines to be made in greater numbers, in more countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director …

Article amended on 10 May 2021

This article has been updated to include information on the World Health Organization’s C-TAP plan.