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Bill Gates draws flak as he says no to sharing vaccine technology with developing nations

Bill Gates


Bill Gates draws flak as he says no to sharing vaccine technology with developing nations

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is in the eye of a storm after the tech mogul expressed his disagreement over sharing of vaccine technology with developing nations.

Gates, in an interview on 25 April with British news broadcaster Sky News, was asked if it would be helpful to change intellectual property law in order to enable “the recipe for these vaccines to be shared.” . To this, he answered, no.

“The thing that’s holding things back, in this case, is not intellectual property_ It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines,” Gates was quoted as saying.

The billionaire explained, “There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. And so moving something that had never been done, moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India, it’s novel, it’s only because of our grants and expertise that can happen at all.”

However, as per the Business Insider report, Gates also said that getting vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to share vaccine formulas has already happened.

“We got all the rights from the vaccine companies,” he said. “They didn’t hold it back, they were participating.”

The billionaire’s remarks have sparked outrage as critics argue that depriving developing countries of vaccine know-how would result in more devastation.

Nick Dearden, executive director of Global Justice Now, one of the lead partner groups in an international coalition calling for WTO patent waivers, dubbed Gates remarks as disgusting.

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“Who appointed this billionaire head of global health?” asked Dearden. “Oh yeah, he did.”

Then, netizens were also outraged over Gates’ remarks. Here’s how they reacted.

Progressive political commentator Krystal Ball, who co-hosts news web series Rising, said the US, European Union pharma companies which are keeping vaccine formulas as secret have “an extraordinarily powerful ally in that fight to protect their bottom line, human lives be damned – our own supposed savior of global public health, Bill Gates”.

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