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The American Medical Association delegates voted at their annual meeting to support a controversial proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, the latest bid to widen distribution to low and middle-income countries.

The show of support comes amid growing anxiety that a large swath of the world’s population will remain vulnerable to the coronavirus and its variants. At the outset of the pandemic, wealthy nations raced to sign deals with vaccine makers and now account for nearly half of the 12.2 billion doses locked up in purchase agreements, according to the Duke Global Health Innovation Center.


In response, the South African and Indian governments last October proposed a waiver to a World Trade Organization agreement that would cover patents, industrial designs, copyrights, and protection of trade secrets. In theory, a waiver could make it easier for countries that permit compulsory licensing to allow a domestic manufacturer to export vaccines.

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