Sat, 15 May 2021

Washington DC [US], April 17 (ANI): Amid the unrelenting coronavirus pandemic, ten Senators have urged US President Joe Biden to support India and South Africa's proposal to the WTO to temporarily lift certain intellectual property barriers and allow countries to locally manufacture COVID-19 diagnostics and vaccines.

The senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, wrote a letter asking for a temporary waiver to ensure the effective and efficient response to this "once-in-a-lifetime" global pandemic.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver proposed by India and South Africa in October 2020 would temporarily lift certain intellectual property barriers and allow countries to locally manufacture COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines, the letter said.

"Allowing countries to manufacture locally will expedite access to vaccines and treatment, prevent unnecessary deaths, expedite global vaccination efforts, and facilitate a stronger, faster economic recovery," it said.

This waiver is vital to ensuring a sufficient volume of and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which is why the waiver is supported by more than 100 nations, the letter further said, adding that the TRIPS waiver is also essential to ensure all global economies, including the United States' economy, can recover from the pandemic.

Further making a case for the waiver, the Senators said that "Regardless of our (US) vaccination efforts here in the US, we cannot successfully combat COVID-19 without supporting the efforts of other countries in our collective fight against this virus.""Unless countries cooperate and share medical technology, there simply will not be sufficient supply of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for many countries - particularly developing countries - to effectively manage COVID-19."Apart from Sanders and Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Jeffrey Merkley, Edward Markey, Chris Van Hollen, and Raphael Warnock are the other Senators who wrote the letter. (ANI)

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