For almost two years, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been kicking around a proposal to stop enforcing — that is, to allow the stealing of — all Covid-19 vaccine patents.
The folly of this proposal has been apparent since it was first put forward. Now, however, it’s under consideration for adoption at a WTO ministerial conference in Geneva next week. Trade officials should stop their mindless posturing and reject it before it does even more harm.
At every point in the fight against the coronavirus, strong intellectual property (IP) protections have been thoroughly vindicated. Now, it appears Mother Nature herself is making the same argument — through an international outbreak of monkeypox.
Before a few weeks ago, most Americans had probably never heard of monkeypox. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now tracking its spread from central Africa to Canada, Europe, and the United States.
Luckily, vaccines are already available. Except luck had nothing to do with it.