By: Pallavi Sethi
May 6 2021
Fauci did not oppose sharing technology for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, but expressed doubt over the time frames over waiving the patent.
Fauci did not oppose sharing technology for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, but expressed doubt over the time frames over waiving the patent.On May 5, 2021, MSNBC journalist Medhi Hassan tweeted: Fauci: "I'm really quite agnostic [on Covid patent waivers]." Me: "How can you be agnostic, you're the chief medical adviser [to the President]?" The tweet implies that President Biden's Chief Medical Advisor, Anthony Fauci, is opposed to sharing resources and waiving the patent. However, the tweet misses out on the context of the quote. While speaking to Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC, Anthony Fauci said he was agnostic on the COVID-19 patent waivers. However, the Chief Medical Advisor revealed that his views were not against sharing the vaccine technology with developing countries. Instead, he expressed concerns over the time it takes to transfer the technology from one country to another. Fauci's primary outlook is to vaccinate people, against COVID-19, in developing countries as soon as possible. He added that this approach could mean providing billions of doses from big Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. to people in lower-income countries at cheap rates. Similar to Fauci, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Standford Law Professor, emphasized that countries like India facing a significant surge in infections require vaccine doses from the existing supply. She also explained that it takes ample time to manufacture a vaccine from scratch, as each new manufacturer has to run a new clinical trial to ensure safety. The World Trade Organization started a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which provides copyright to pharmaceutical companies over vaccine production. However, during the pandemic, India and South Africa proposed a patent waiver in October 2020, and the proposal sparked a debate across the world. On May 5, 2021, the Biden-led administration supported a temporary waiver of protection for COVID-19 vaccines. So far, there has been a disproportionate COVID-19 vaccine supply across the world. The Washington Post reported that just 16 percent of the world's population had consumed 48 percent of total vaccine doses. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority. Fauci has previously said that he is in favour of sharing the vaccine patents, and that it should be one of the ideas under consideration to help countries struggling with high rates of COVID-19.