As COVID-19 second wave ravages India, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said that he will not be entertaining the idea of temporarily lifting vaccine patent protections so that vaccine formulas can be shared with the world.
His statement comes at a time when India’s healthcare infrastructure has been completely overwhelmed and the Centre is looking to vaccinate the majority of its citizens as soon as possible. The lifting of the patents could have vastly increased India’s vaccine production capacity.
However, Bill Gates thinks it is a bad idea in an interview with Sky News this week.
“There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world, and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines,” he added. “Moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India, it’s novel, it’s only because of our grants and expertise that can happen at all.”
“The thing that’s holding things back, in this case, is not intellectual property, It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You’ve got to do the trial on these things. And every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way,” he added.
India recorded 3,86,452 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, setting yet another grim one-day record, taking the overall caseload to 1,87,62,976, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.
The country’s active COVID-19 cases stand at 31,70,228.
With 3498 deaths in the last 24 hours, the death toll is at 2,08,330. In the last 24 hours, 2,97,540 recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 1,53,84,418.