US, EU, India and South Africa reach consensus on breaking patents on Kovid vaccines

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Vials labeled as Covid-19 vaccine in front of the word ‘micron’ in illustration photo

By Andrea Schallal and Emma Farge

(Reuters) – The United States, the European Union, India and South Africa have reached an interim agreement after lengthy talks on key elements of limited intellectual property exemptions for Covid-19 vaccines, sources familiar with the matter said. Compromise this Tuesday.

According to sources, the interim agreement between the four members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) still requires formal approval from the parties before it can be considered official.

It would only apply to COVID-19 vaccine patents, backed by the United States, with a much more limited scope than the WTO’s broader intellectual property exemption proposal, he said.

One of the sources said the interim agreement reflects the EU’s mandated licensing approach and does not include COVID treatments or tests, as well as limits that would exclude China from any exemptions.

Spokesmen for the World Trade Organization and the Office of the US Trade Representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The interim agreement comes after months of talks about accelerating production of coronavirus vaccines in developing countries, where vaccination rates lag far behind wealthy countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Schallal and David Lauder in Washington; Emma Farge in Geneva; and Phil Blenkinsop in Brussels)

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