Vaccine needle

U.S. Strikes Compromise with G20 Over Voluntary Licensing for COVID-19 Vaccines

May 20, 2021

The U.S. is expected to agree with other large wealthy countries to push for voluntary licensing of COVID-19 vaccine patents instead of waivers, according to a draft statement set to be adopted by G20 countries on Friday.

The nations are expected to announce a list of commitments at the Global Health Summit in Rome, which will be used to coordinate the countries’ latest pandemic-era responses and represents an about-face by the Biden administration on the issue of intellectual property waivers for COVID vaccines.

The draft document, whose contents could change before Friday, represents a compromise by the  Biden administration, which earlier this month threw its support behind a proposal submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by South Africa and India to waive intellectual property protections for vaccines during the pandemic.

G20 leaders are expected to call for patent-pooling whereby drugmakers will share patents voluntarily, allowing developing nations to manufacture COVID-19 products. Such polices have been used before to help make HIV drugs available to African nations.

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