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Pope Francis Backs Biden Call to Waive Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

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Pope Francis on Saturday supported waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, backing a proposal by U.S. President Joe Biden.

In a speech to a global fundraising concert to promote fair access to vaccines, the pope stated that the world was infected with the “virus of individualism.”
“A variant of this virus is closed nationalism, which prevents, for example, an internationalism of vaccines,” the pope said in the pre-recorded video message.”Another variant is when we put the laws of the market or of intellectual market or intellectual property over the laws of love and the health of humanity,” he added, recalling the heavy death toll the coronavirus had inflicted on the world.On Wednesday, Biden showed sharp reversal of the previous U.S. position, affirming his support behind waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.

In remarks to reporters, Biden voiced his support for a waiver which followed swiftly by a statement from his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, who backed negotiations at the World Trade Organization.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” Tai said in a statement.

In the same vein, French President Emmanuel Macron affirmed Thursday that he was “absolutely in favour” of a global waiver on patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines.

The French President’s statement marked a shift for France, which had previously opposed such a move as likely to discourage innovation and argued patents should only be waived as a last resort.

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