Biotech ETFs To Suffer As US Backs IP Waiver For COVID-19 Vaccines

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The coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate in some parts of the globe. This has led to efforts from different nations to fill in the coronavirus vaccine supply gap between wealthier and poorer nations. In this regard, the Biden administration recently announced its support for the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines that have been proposed by South Africa and India. This in turn is expected to assist in amplifying the production of vaccines in developing countries.

Thus, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai recently said: “We are for the waiver at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the waiver are trying to accomplish, which is better access, more manufacturing capability, more shots in arms,” as mentioned in a BloombergQuint article.

Following the announcement, the Biden administration is now expected to encourage other countries to support the proposal and will engage itself in negotiation talks for the waiver at the World Trade Organization, going by the same BloombergQuint article. Moving on, other countries that have taken a similar stance are the European Union, U.K., Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and Norway.

The move has been applauded by the World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He has appreciated the U.S. decision as a “monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19” reflecting White House’s “moral leadership” in the battle against the pandemic, per a CNBC article.

How Have Vaccine Makers Reacted?

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America holds different views in comparison to the Biden administration’s support for waiving IP protections, per a CNBC article. Notably, prominent vaccine developers like AstraZeneca AZN, Pfizer PFE and Johnson & Johnson JNJ are the members of the group.

Commenting on the move, Stephen J. Ubi, the group’s president and CEO, has said that “in the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden Administration has taken an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety. This decision will sow confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already strained supply chains and foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines,” as mentioned in a CNBC article.

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