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World leaders weigh in on Covid-19 vaccine waiver

EU leaders have given short shrift to a proposal by Joe Biden and backed by the pope to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents as a way to increase supply, insisting that the White House should instead allow the export of doses and of the key ingredients.

At a summit in Porto, a series of European leaders, including those who had previously appeared open to suspending intellectual property rights, said Biden’s idea was not a priority and expressed frustration at the US president’s attempt to claim the moral high ground.

Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, whose foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, had commended the White House for the proposal earlier in the week, said it was more important that the US and UK governments remove blocks on exports.

Meanwhile, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations says that President Joe Biden’s support for international talks on waiving patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines could result in a fall in quality if raw materials are diverted away from approved production facilities.

Sisanda Mpiti.

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