AU urges drug-makers to waive intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines 

The African Union (AU) on Thursday backed calls for drug-makers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines.

The call, the AU said, became necessary to speed up their rollout to poor countries.

South Africa and India, which both manufacture drugs and vaccines, had made the proposal at the World Trade Organization last year.

The two countries had argued that intellectual property (IP) rules were hindering the urgent scale-up of vaccine production and provision of medical products to some patients.

They have faced opposition from some developed nations, but the backing of the African Union may give renewed impetus for the push to relax IP rules.

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference that IP transfers were a “win-win for everybody” that would address huge inequalities in global public health.

He gave two examples where the developing world had suffered from restricted access to medicines: the swine flu pandemic in the late 2000s and HIV/AIDS in the 1990s.

“In 1996, HIV drugs were available, and we saw how mortality in the developed world decreased drastically. But it would take 10 years before those drugs were accessible in Africa in any meaningful way,” he said.

“In between, 12 million Africans died, so I just use those numbers to say: any IP transfer will be beneficial to everybody, because nobody wants to sit back and be proud of that sad event.

“We want to be on the right side of history,” he added.

Separately, the WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti urged pharmaceutical companies to be flexible with their IP to facilitate access to medicines.

She expressed hope that discussions over waiving IP rights would “turn into action at some point in the future”.

Nkengasong said the Africa CDC’s regulatory taskforce had approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, a day after Ghana received its first AstraZeneca doses from global vaccine distribution facility COVAX.

He said the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine had submitted data dossiers to the Africa CDC and an expert panel would review it.

“We have not received dossiers yet from China colleagues, but we remain optimistic,” he added.

Egypt, Zimbabwe and Senegal have already started rolling out Chinese COVID-19 shots.

(Reuters/NAN)

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Cryptocurrency: Understanding The Craze, Threat

ON Friday, February 6, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rocked the boat with a circular that inadvertently highlighted how popular cryptocurrency transactions have become among Nigerians in recent years, judging by… 

ICYMI: Yoruba, Hausa Teachers Needed In US

The US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria has announced that the services of Yoruba and Hausa teachers are needed in the United States. According to the Public Affairs Section of the US Mission Nigeria…

Controversy Over Man Who Jumped From 7th Floor Of 1004 During EFCC Raid

The police in Lagos State have begun investigations into the circumstances surrounding the alleged death of a man at 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, who allegedly jumped from the 7th floor of one of the buildings. The man was…

INEC Lists Five Challenges Ahead Of 2023 Elections

AS politicians step up horse-trading ahead of subsequent elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed five main areas of likely challenges…

After Two Years, Daddy Freeze Apologises To Bishop Oyedepo
Daddy Freeze whose real name is Ifedayo Olarinde has apologised to Bishop Oyedepo who is the presiding bishop and founder of Living Faith Church aka Winners Chapel…

 

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More