Pressure is mounting on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to make a deal on an intellectual property waiver for the COVID-19 vaccines after it postponed its Ministerial Conference due to the emergence of the omicron variant.
India, South Africa and other countries have been pressing for the waiver, which wealthier countries have not embraced. The Biden administration publicly supports the waiver, which would allow more countries to manufacture vaccines without securing the intellectual property rights. Advocates say the administration has not put muscle behind its backing.
The delay of the conference, where members were slated to consider a proposed waiver suspension, has sparked concerns that the wait could further hinder the global vaccination effort and widen the vaccine gap between wealthy and poor countries.