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AU Backs Calls for Drugmakers to Waive Some Intellectual Property Rights on COVID-19 Medicines

South Africa and India, which both manufacture drugs and vaccines, made the proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year, arguing that intellectual property (IP) rules were hindering the urgent scale-up of vaccine production and provision of medical products to some patients. They have faced opposition from some developed nations, but the backing of the African Union (AU) may give renewed impetus for the push to relax IP rules. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference that IP transfer was a “win-win for everybody” that would address the huge inequalities in global public health. Nkengasong added the Africa CDC’s regulatory taskforce had approved two versions of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, a day after Ghana received its first AstraZeneca doses from global vaccine distribution facility COVAX. He said the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine had submitted a “full dossier” of data to the Africa CDC and that in the coming days an expert panel would review the data and make a pronouncement.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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