Switzerland on Friday said it is looking at the new situation arising out of the United States backing an initiative to temporarily waive patent rules for COVID-19 vaccines.
In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO ((World Trade Organization) members on the implementation of certain provisions of the agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID. The proposed relaxations in the norms of the agreement are aimed at ensuring quick and affordable access to vaccines and medicines for developing countries.
The US administration has backed the initiative by India and South Africa at the WTO to temporarily waive patent rules on COVID vaccines.
“The US has changed its position within the WTO and we have a new situation. I am aware that the government is looking at the new situation and that means, we have to wait and see what the Swiss government will decide based on the new situation. The decision will be taken in Berne and we have to wait for that,” Switzerland’s Ambassador to India Ralf Heckner told PTI in an interview on Friday.
He also noted that Switzerland has an independent voice and position within the WTO.
According to Heckner, two Swiss companies are into producing COVID vaccines.
“One pharma company is producing Moderna (vaccine) and other pharma business is about to set up a facility to produce Pfizer-BioNtech (vaccine). Switzerland’s pharma businesses are part and parcel of production of vaccines for the world,” he said.
Some other Swiss pharma businesses are producing vaccines that are needed to treat COVID patients and one big pharma company is into sequencing. Swiss pharma sector is into production of vaccines, sequencing and production of drugs, he noted.
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