At least 10 Democratic senators in the United States have written to President Joe Biden and urged him to support a proposal moved by India and South Africa at the WTO last year, seeking a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics and related technologies.
The senators include progressive leadership in the US Senate led by Bernie Sanders, who is the chairman of the budget committee, and senators Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen and Raphael Warnock.
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The senators have endorsed the temporary lifting of restrictions of intellectual property barriers to allow countries to locally manufacture Covid-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to ensure equitable access to healthcare. They have said that supporting the TRIPs waiver would help everyone and the current flexibilities in TRIPs are ill-suited to a global crisis.
On Saturday, 108 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Biden saying unless countries co-operate and share medical technology, there will not be a sufficient supply of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. The letter has been signed by Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Karen Bass, Brad Sherman and others.
A targeted, time-limited waiver would help to flatten the curve and also help restore America’s leadership in public health on the global stage.
Meanwhile, India and South Africa are preparing for a fresh push at the WTO for the waiver, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity on Saturday.