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WTO Approves Vaccine-Patent Waiver to Help Combat Covid Pandemic

June 17, 2022, 3:07 AM

The World Trade Organization approved a politically important deal Friday to water down intellectual property restrictions for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines after an almost two-year effort involving scores of high-level meetings and much political arm twisting.

During the early morning hours in Geneva, WTO ministers approved a package of agreements that included the vaccine patent waiver, which Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala previously said was necessary to end the “morally unacceptable” inequity of access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The WTO’s last-minute deal -- secured after an all-night negotiating session in Geneva -- is an important victory for Okonjo-Iweala, the former head ...