A group of developing countries, led by South Africa and India, is expected to put pressure on the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday 20th to authorize a suspension of patents on vaccines and medicines against Covid-19.
The proposal – first presented to the entity’s Intellectual Property Council at the end of October – is questioned by developed countries because, according to them, the measure would prevent the development of new technologies and innovation in the health area.
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told the G1 that the United Nations Health Agency supports “any type of action” taken by countries to reduce barriers to access to vaccines.
“WHO supports countries to explore different tools to reduce potential barriers to access to medicines and vaccines, including patents,” said Jasarevic.
Representatives from South Africa have already said they are willing to try to move forward with the approval of the matter, although it is not unanimous among WTO members. Usually, decisions made by the board are made by consensus.
Developing countries argue that if intellectual property rights are not suspended in these medical products, poorer countries will be disproportionately impacted and may encounter difficulties in supply.
G1 contacted Itamaraty and asked if Brazil intends to support the group’s proposal or if it will align itself with the United States and countries of the European Union, contrary to the suspension. Until the last update of this report, there was no answer.
Brazil has previously criticized the international drug patent treaty. This to overturn the control of few laboratories in the treatment of AIDS and ensure greater access to medicines for patients in the Unified Health System (SUS).
China was the first country to grant a patent for a potential coronavirus vaccine. Although there is no approved immunization worldwide, the pharmaceutical company CanSino has had its vaccine registered since 11 August.
This means that CanSino has ownership of the vaccine and the right to sell doses. According to the patent summary, the vaccine shows good immunization in tests with mice and can be produced quickly on a large scale.
Currently, there are 212 vaccine studies underway worldwide. At least 48 of them are already undergoing human testing, according to the WHO. At least 11 studies are already well advanced, in the third and final testing phase before approval.
China, United States, United Kingdom, Russia and India lead among the countries with the most trials in the final stage.