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PM Modi calls for WHO's reform, flexibility in WTO rules related to IP rights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the 2nd Global Covid Summit, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo) (ANI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the 2nd Global Covid Summit, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

  • Covid-19 pandemic: PM Modi said the country has fully vaccinated almost 90% of the adult population and more than 50 million children
  • India has been pressing for the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver to ensure scaling up of the vaccine production for equitable and global access

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address at the second global Covid virtual summit, said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) must be reformed to build a more resilient global health security architecture. PM Modi also pitched for streamlining its approval process for vaccines and therapeutics to keep the supply chains stable and predictable.

The prime minister called for making flexible the WTO's rules relating to trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), in comments that came over a year-and-half after India and South Africa pushed for temporarily waiving intellectual property rights for producing Covid-19 vaccines to effectively deal with the pandemic.

"The World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, particularly TRIPS need to be more flexible. WHO must be reformed and strengthened to build a more resilient global health security architecture," he said in the opening session of the summit.

India has been pressing for the TRIPS waiver to ensure scaling up of the vaccine production for equitable and global access.

Further PM Modi highlighted India's role in combating the coronavirus pandemic. He said that India's Genomics Consortium has contributed significantly to the global database on the Covid virus. India will extend this genomic sequencing network to countries in its neighbourhood, he added.

Referring to India's handling of the pandemic, PM Modi said the country has fully vaccinated almost 90% of the adult population and more than 50 million children.

"Our vaccination programme is the largest in the world. We have fully vaccinated almost 90% of the adult population and more than 50 million children. India manufactures four WHO-approved vaccines and can produce five billion doses this year," he said.

"We supplied over 200 million doses to 98 countries, bilaterally and through COVAX. India has developed low-cost Covid mitigation technologies for testing, treating, and data management. We have offered these capabilities to other countries," Modi said.

"In India, we adopted a people-centric strategy against the pandemic. We have made the highest ever allocation to our annual healthcare budget," he said.

On the significance of India's ayurvedic medicines, the prime minister said, "In India, we extensively used our traditional medicines to supplement our fight against Covid and to boost immunity, saving countless lives. Last month, we laid the foundation of 'WHO Centre for Traditional Medicine' in India, to make this age-old knowledge available to the world".

The prime minister, who participated at the summit following an invitation by US President Joe Biden, said India adopted a "people-centric" strategy to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

PM Modi participated in the first global virtual summit on Covid-19 hosted by Biden on September 22 last year as well.

The second summit intends to galvanize new actions to address the continued challenges of the Covid pandemic and build a stronger global health security architecture.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa were among the key leaders who addressed the summit.

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