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WTO members fail to agree on patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

Geneva: The World Trade Organization member countries have failed to reach a consensus on a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said on Tuesday following the General Council session.

Although all members agreed on the need to boost the production of vaccines, they have divergent views on how this can be achieved, according to the official.

The discussion will continue in early September, while negotiations at the General Council level may take place in mid-October, Rockwell added.

The statement comes a day after WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that the negotiations on the patent waiver are moving slowly.

In 2020, India and South Africa suggested suspending patents for COVID-19 drugs over concerns that developed countries have been seriously ahead of others in terms of vaccination pace. According to Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO member countries will make a decision by the 12th WTO ministerial conference, which will take place in late November-early December.

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