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TRIPS pact waiver for tackling COVID-19 to help save lives, recover trade: India to WTO

The proposal for temporary waiver from certain provisions of TRIPS agreement is first on priority list, he has said during the formal TNC (trade negotiations committee) and informal HODs (head of delegations) meetings on May 3.

May 05, 2021 / 10:34 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

A temporary waiver of certain provisions of intellectual property rights' agreement for tackling COVID-19 will help in saving valuable human lives and accelerate the recovery of global trade and world GDP, according to Brajendra Navnit, Indian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation. The proposal for temporary waiver from certain provisions of TRIPS agreement is first on priority list, he has said during the formal TNC (trade negotiations committee) and informal HODs (head of delegations) meetings on May 3.

To slow down the virus' ability to infect new people and mutate further, there is a need for a true global vaccination drive in a time boundmanner, and the limited waiver is an effective and pragmatic way to help in achieving it, Navnit said. "An outcome on this will not only help in saving valuable human lives but will also give a comforting signal to boost the consumer confidence and will accelerate the recovery of global trade and world GDP," he added.

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In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO (World Trade Organization) members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19. The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.

He also said that "We are working on the revised text of the TRIPS Council proposal and engaging in bilateral consultations". On e-commerce matter, he said the pandemic has further brought out the gaps in the digital capacities of the members and the need of the hour is to build capacity in areas such as digital skills and infrastructure, rather than negotiating binding rules on e-commerce.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"It is also important to bring clarity on the scope, definition and impact of the moratorium on custom duty on electronic transmission, its potential impact on the sustainability of the domestic industry and negative impact on job creation and revenue generation," he added.
first published: May 5, 2021 10:34 pm

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