Tsipras: WHO backs COVID-19 vaccine release

The leftist politician from Syriza party (GUE-NGL) held a telephone conversation on Sunday (31 January) with the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom, who agreed with Tsipras initiative to release patents of COVID-19 vaccines to scale up production. [Photo by Sarantis Michalopoulos]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports releasing a COVID-19 vaccine patent in order to speed up production of vaccines, Greece’s main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras has said.

The leftist politician from Syriza party (GUE-NGL) held a telephone conversation on Sunday (31 January) with WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom, who agreed with Tsipras’ initiative to release patents of COVID-19 vaccines to scale up production.

“Dr. Tedros Adhanom stressed that he supports Syriza’s initiative to secure patents and create a pool of patents, in order to have greater and faster production of vaccines by as many pharmaceutical companies as possible,” the leftist party said in a statement.

Similar calls have been made by some social democrats in Germany, such as EU lawmaker Udo Bullmann.

However, the European Commission does not seem to be willing to explore this possibility.

According to an EU spokesperson, the Commission does not plan to examine the various options for releasing vaccine patents. “Vaccine developers retain their intellectual property rights,” the spokesperson told EURACTIV Germany.

“For many decades, publicly funded research programs have provided for beneficiary companies and universities to retain their intellectual property,” the spokesperson said. However, publicly funded research already enjoys “broad access” to research data, the EU official added. (Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)

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