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Millions gather in Hindu ritual as coronavirus surges in India
03:16 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Members of the World Trade Organization discussed a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments Wednesday amid growing international pressure for greater access for developing nations.

While no decision was made, the discussion was “far more constructive, pragmatic, it was less emotive and less finger-pointing” than on previous occasions, WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told a media briefing.

India and South Africa are expected to put a revised proposal before WTO members next month, Rockwell said. No details have yet been given on what may change except that it may concern the timeline for the temporary waiver, he said.

Rights campaigners have also called for G7 foreign and development ministers who are meeting in London to consider the question of overriding pharmaceutical companies’ Covid-19 patents.

Activists and many world figures argue that the step is the only way to speed up access to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines for developing nations at a time when richer countries have bought up a large part of the global supply.

While the United States has now fully vaccinated 32% of its population – and could authorize use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds by next week – many poorer nations are struggling to obtain vaccine doses for their elderly and most vulnerable through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative that provides discounted or free doses for lower-income countries.

India – where Covid-19 infections continue to rage, with devastating effects – has administered more than 160 million Covid-19 vaccine doses since mid-January but doses are now in short supply for its nearly 1.4 billion population. Only about 30 million people have been fully vaccinated so far.