WTO panel considers easing protections on COVID-19 vaccines

GENEVA (AP) — Envoys from World Trade Organization member nations are taking up a proposal to ease patents and other intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. On the table for a two-day meeting of a WTO panel opening Tuesday is a revised proposal presented by India and South Africa for a temporary IP waiver on coronavirus vaccines. The idea has drawn support from more than 60 countries, including the United States and China. Some European Union member states oppose the idea, and the EU on Friday offered an alternative proposal. Even optimistic supporters acknowledge an IP waiver could take months to finalize because of the resistance from some countries and WTO rules that require consensus on such decisions.