Four WTO Members Agree to Waive COVID-19 Vaccine Patents

March 17, 2022

Four World Trade Organization (WTO) members — the European Union, South Africa, India and the U.S. — agreed this week to waive intellectual property rights for the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

The document outlining their compromise, a year-and-a-half in the making, indicates that the agreement only covers vaccines for now, but could later be extended to therapies and diagnostics for COVID-19.

The four WTO members said they intend to implement the agreement no later than September 2022.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that she hopes the agreement will eventually include all 164 WTO member countries.

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