Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director general of WTO (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP Images)

The Covid-19 vac­cine IP waiv­er is back at the WTO, with a new dead­line. Can it muster enough sup­port?

World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion di­rec­tor-gen­er­al Ngozi Okon­jo-Iweala called on mem­bers late last week to move swift­ly and forge at least a draft agree­ment on the di­vi­sive IP waiv­er for Covid-19 vac­cines by the end of Feb­ru­ary.

Those ad­vo­cat­ing for such a waiv­er, in­clud­ing coun­tries like the US, In­dia and South Africa and oth­er aid groups like Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders, have called to help more coun­tries man­u­fac­ture their own vac­cines more quick­ly, a task that has lost sig­nif­i­cant time due to these long ne­go­ti­a­tions. Some like MSF ar­gue that the waiv­er shouldn’t just in­clude vac­cines but should pro­vide a “crit­i­cal le­gal path­way for coun­tries to fa­cil­i­tate more di­ver­si­fied and sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion and sup­ply” of all Covid-re­lat­ed tools, in­clud­ing tests and ther­a­peu­tics too.

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