Red Cross: Waiving intellectual property rights on vaccines would save lives

(Correction: fixes titles in pars 1, 3.)

By Antonio Broto

Geneva, May 25 (EFE).- Waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines could save hundreds of thousands of lives, the director of health at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Emanuele Capobianco, told Efe in an interview.

He made the marks ahead of the World Health Organization’s annual health assembly, where the topic will be up for debate on Monday.

“Will there be opposition? I’m sure there will be. But the question is how will the majority of the governments decide to take it,” Capobianco said. “We can only advocate towards reducing vaccine inequity and highlighting how these decisions that will be taken mean hundreds of thousands of lives that could be lost or affected by the disease.”

The president of the humanitarian organization, Francesco Rocca, will defend the stance during the WHO assembly. Around 60 developing countries have spoken in favor of suspending intellectual property patents on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.

Capobianco recalled how global authorities pulled together to tackle the HIV/AIDs pandemic 20 years ago.

“I hope the people in power will be just as bold this time and push the reforms that are needed to bring the tools that are necessary for people to save their own lives,” he added.

Countries against the liberalization of intellectual property rights on vaccines are often home to large pharmaceutical companies and argue that patents are necessary to drive rapid research and production now and in the future.

Capobianco highlighted the fact that progress in the vaccination drive has been fueled by public funds in many cases.

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