New Delhi: United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday supported India and South Africa’s proposal for a global waiver of anti-COVID vaccine patents to boost its supply as an important step in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to facilitate more drugmakers to manufacture the coronavirus vaccines, a move that was opposed by pharma giants. Also Read - Domestic Flights: Vistara Begins Flight Services With Fully Vaccinated Pilots And Crew Members

“The Biden administration’s announcement that it will work to advance a carefully-crafted TRIPS waiver for vaccines at the WTO is a welcome and important step in the fight to crush the virus globally, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday. Also Read - Odisha Unlock Begins: Markets Can Open From 6 AM; Weekend Lockdown to Continue | Full Guidelines

India has appreciated the Biden administration’s decision to waive certain Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules for COVID-19 vaccines. In the past few months, the Indian Embassy had been making a focused outreach on the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the developing world. Also Read - Govt Fixes 12-16 Weeks Gap Between 2 Covishield Doses on Expert Grounds, Scientists Say ‘Never Backed it’

Hailing Biden for this “monumental decision”, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said this recognises the common humanity they share in the face of this horrific and unprecedented pandemic.

By heeding to the call of a global grassroots movement, this administration is restoring US global leadership by putting human life above pharmaceutical profits, Jayapal added.

“This life-saving decision to reverse the Trump administration’s shameful obstruction of international efforts temporarily waive patent monopolies could not come a moment too soon, as India, Brazil, and countries across the world experience terrifying new surges in COVID-19 infections and deaths,” she said.

The Congresswoman pointed out that wealthy countries have administered more than 80 per cent of global vaccines while low-income countries like India and Brazil have received just 0.3 per cent.

US President Biden had been under immense pressure to waive protections for vaccine manufacturers, especially after he became part of the criticism that rich nations were “hoarding” vaccine shots.

“Today’s announcement is proof that as a nation, we care more about saving lives and helping poorer nations than we do about corporate greed and profits,” a joint statement issued by more than half a dozen US lawmakers said. The lawmakers included Jan Schakowsky, Rosa DeLauro, Lloyd Doggett, Earl Blumenauer, Angie Craig, Jes s Chuy Garc a, Barbara Lee, Adriano Espaillat and Andy Levin.

When the US taxpayers funded the investment in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, it was not only to find a solution to the pandemic here at home, but also to crush the virus around the world, they said.

“The TRIPS waiver will allow sharing of the intellectual property required for vaccine manufacturing to get underway immediately, and we applaud the Biden administration’s support of it in the WTO. This is the right thing to do, and a moment to make every American proud, they said.