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Written by: Hanna Fleisher

The first half of 2021 showed that humanity’s hopes for an end to the pandemic in the near future will definitely not come true. In March, the second year of the coronavirus march across the planet began, in April a number of countries launched a second lockdown, and world organizations are trying with all their might to defeat the pandemic, are not they?
On the occasion of the Day of Liberation from Fascism and German Occupation (April 25), representatives of the Italian academic world submitted a petition calling for the Covid-19 vaccines to be waivered from patent protection. The rationale behind this initiative was to enable less wealthy countries to independently develop life-saving vaccines and other medical products to fight the coronavirus.

The Italian petition is far from the first proposal to abolish patent protection. In early October 2020, India and South Africa asked the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive the protection of Covid-19 products through patents, copyrights, industrial designs and trade secrets until most of the world’s population is vaccinated and they will develop immunity.

Logically enough, this proposal sparked a debate never seen before. Many representatives of the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom spoke out against the waiving patent protection, not only in the halls of official institutions, but also in the vastness of social networks.

So far, the main reason not to support the appeal of underdeveloped countries is the lack of any clear evidence that intellectual property rights are a real obstacle to access to drugs and technologies related to COVID-19.

And this argument makes sense. Looking deeper, a vaccine patent “just” prevents another company from making the same product. But even without a patent, the vaccine company possesses a huge amount of relevant know-how, which, even in a nightmare, will not be passed on for free. This know-how is the more know-how, the greater the gap in technological development between countries.

And, what if patent protection is canceled? Apart from an obvious blow to the financing of pharmaceutical companies research centers with all the ensuing consequences, will this not lead to a flooding of the pharmaceutical market with low-quality vaccines and counterfeit products?

Needless to say, the World Trade Organization has to resolve a highly controversial dilemma.

What do you think about the waiving the patent protection? Will it lead to more positive and negative results? Express your opinion in the comments, and we will follow the course of events) Maybe, by joint efforts, the world will be able to defeat the pandemic.

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