Time is running out to expand an agreement to relax patent rules on COVID vaccines. Members of the World Trade Organization should broaden its scope to treatments and tests.
Only 14% of people in poorer countries have received one vaccine dose, but a leaked WTO ‘solution’ to waive patents fails to ensure developing countries can access life-saving vaccines and medicines.
From vaccines to treatments and even medical equipment, intellectual property rights have hampered the world’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
The US has backed a proposal to waive intellectual property relating to COVID measures – but global efforts need to go beyond vaccine patents.