Thursday, March 23, 2023

South Africa welcomes waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patent

South Africa Welcomes Waiver Of Covid-19 Vaccine Patent

South Africa on Saturday praised a WTO agreement to allow developing countries to start manufacturing their own COVID vaccines after a nearly two-year battle.

“We have reached an agreement. It was a strongly fought agreement,” said Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel, who along with India and NGOs called for the waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-related treatments.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday announced a relaxation of intellectual property restrictions on vaccines in a move aimed at providing more equitable access to shots, but which many observers have criticized for being limited in time and scope.

After months of squabbling, and talks that went on the line this week to persuade some major players in pharmaceutical manufacturing to a compromise, the United States and China have finally concluded the agreement by agreeing on which countries will benefit from the waiver.

Both South Africa and India were outspoken in their demands for such a move, which they said was necessary to stop “vaccine apartheid”.

According to the WHO, 60% of the world population has received two doses of the COVID vaccine, but there are striking examples of inequality with only 17% being vaccinated in Libya, with the figure at 8% in Nigeria and less than 5% in Cameroon .

In a statement, the South African government welcomed a waiver designed to give local vaccine manufacturers the right to manufacture either vaccines or proprietary ingredients or elements, without the authority of the patent holder, and considered it ‘ a significant step forward – even if limited to five years.

Pretoria added that “to scale up production on the continent, further partnerships will be needed, including access to expertise and technology.”

However, the agreement excludes preliminary tests and expensive therapeutic treatments against COVID, which the WTO will rule on in the next six months.

However, commercialization in Africa will be a challenge.

The Durban-based South African pharmaceutical giant Aspen, which last November signed an agreement with the US-based Johnson & Johnson to manufacture a “made in Africa for Africa” ​​Aspen brand COVID vaccine Aspenovax, has last month said it could pull the plug out due to a defect. of orders.

“Our focus now is to ensure that we address the demand by persuading global vaccine buyers to come from African producers,” said Patel.

South Africa has three sites under the auspices of Aspen in Durban, Afrigen in Cape Town and Biovac, also in Cape Town, which makes the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Afrigen’s biotechnology consortium makes the messenger RNA shot based on the Moderna formula, the first to be made based on a widely used vaccine that does not require the developer’s assistance and approval.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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