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Possible suspension of Covid vaccine patents brings hope to Africa

The United States is now in favor of lifting intellectual property rights on vaccines against the new coronavirus, a decision…

The United States is now in favor of lifting intellectual property rights on vaccines against the new coronavirus, a decision that won European support, to the great happiness of Africa.Africa is for sure, badly engaged in the vaccine race. To date, according to the African Union public health agency (Africa CDC), 1.14 percent of the continent’s population has received the first dose of one of the vaccines on only the market and 0.37 percent took the second dose.

For a little over a billion people, this is ridiculous. The call by the United States for the democratization of vaccines therefore sounds like deliverance.

“This is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for (exceptional) action,” Katherine Tai, the US Trade Representative recently said.

The world’s leading power is convinced that its strategy will help “accelerate global production” of vaccines at a time when the various producing laboratories are crumbling under orders.

Through the voice of Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, the Old Continent is committed “to discussing any proposal which responds to the crisis in an efficient and pragmatic manner.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that “this is a monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether the laboratories, which have spent fortunes to expressly develop vaccines, will give up their intellectual property rights in the service of ending this pandemic. The World Trade Organization (WTO) should be called upon to facilitate consensus on practical modalities.

The Covid-19 has already caused the death of 3.2 million people worldwide out of 156 million cases listed. Uncle Sam’s country is hardest hit with 33 million infections and more than 594,000 deaths. In the Dark Continent, South Africa is paying the heaviest price with 1.5 million infections resulting in the death of 54,620 people.

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