U.S. to debate wider Covid vaccine licensing as India calls to waive patent protections

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Floor employees unload coronavirus illness (COVID-19) reduction provides from the USA on the Indira Gandhi Worldwide Airport cargo terminal in New Delhi, India April 30, 2021.

Prakash Singh | Reuters

WASHINGTON – White Home Chief of Workers Ron Klain mentioned Sunday that the Biden administration is seeking to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to India and different international locations now that thousands and thousands of Individuals have obtained their doses.

In latest weeks, India has grappled with a staggering rise in new coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, India reported 400,000 every day instances, bringing the nation’s cumulative complete to 19,557,457 instances, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins. The spike might have been triggered by a extremely contagious Covid variant, often known as B.1.617, which was first recognized within the nation.

The variant has since been recognized in different international locations, together with the USA.

On Friday, the White Home introduced that it could restrict travel from India because the nation works to counter its surge of Covid-19 infections.

“We’re speeding help to India,” Klain mentioned throughout an interview on CBS program “Face the Nation.”

Klain mentioned that the U.S. has despatched therapeutics, speedy diagnostic check kits, ventilators and protecting gear to the world’s largest democracy in addition to uncooked supplies essential for vaccine manufacturing.

“Our U.S. Commerce Consultant Katherine Tai goes to the WTO subsequent week to start out talks on how we will get this vaccine extra extensively distributed, extra extensively licensed, extra extensively shared,” he mentioned when requested if the Biden administration would chill out patent protections on the coronavirus vaccine.

Klain added that he anticipated the White Home to have extra to say on the matter within the coming days.

Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned lifting the patent protections of the coronavirus vaccine with Biden, according to a readout of the call. The relief would grant governments faster and extra reasonably priced entry to the lifesaving doses.

Final week, the Biden administration introduced that it’s going to instantly make raw materials needed for India’s coronavirus vaccine production available. The U.S. response got here after Britain, France and Germany pledged help to India, the world’s largest democracy. Wealthy nations have come under fire in recent days for hoarding the uncooked supplies wanted to make the pictures.