In 2020, South Africa led a critical initiative at the World Trade Organisation to open access to health technologies, including vaccines, for COVID. The initiative was a resolution for a waiver of Intellectual Property (IP) on COVID-related health technologies during the pandemic.

However, progress in WTO has been slow. At first there has been frank opposition to the waiver from countries with powerful vested interests. Now, when it overwhelmingly clear that the selfishness of northern governments cannot sustain vaccine hoarding any longer, the WTO has been presented with a ‘compromise’ text which is actually not a compromise but a substitute for what was intended – the “QUAD compromise” is worse than no waiver – for reasons outlined in the URL’s below:

Yours sincerely,

Prof Leslie London - University of Cape Town
Mr Andy Gray - University of KwaZulu-Natal
Prof Brook Baker - Northeastern University, USA and University of KwaZulu-Natal
Prof Yousuf Vawda - University of KwaZulu-Nata