Dhe World Trade Organization (WTO) decided on Friday morning at its 12th Ministerial Conference to suspend patents on Covid-19 vaccines. In Geneva, the 164 WTO members voted in favor of this step. This should also enable poorer countries to produce corona vaccines.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO had not achieved so many multilateral outcomes in a long time. The package will change the lives of people around the world. The results showed that the WTO can respond to the needs of our time.
With the suspension of intellectual property rights, companies in poor countries should be able to produce vaccines against Covid-19. The companies can thus use the processes that established vaccine producers use.
What about other patents?
This is intended to expand the production of vaccines. Later, the WTO will decide whether patents on medicines and diagnostics will also be suspended in the corona pandemic.
The WTO also wants to reduce harmful subsidies for fisheries. This is intended to protect stocks and curb overfishing of the seas. In addition, the WTO wants to do more for food security in view of the threat of famine.
The ministerial conference started on Sunday and was supposed to end on Wednesday. Due to strong disagreements between poor and rich countries, the conference had to be extended.