Developed and developing nations are clashing again and the pertinent issue this time is the manufacture of Covid vaccine.
Bill Gates, in response to a question regarding sharing of the recipe for Covid vaccines with developing nations (which includes India), he emphatically clarified that this will not happen.
An Indian newspaper reported Gates claiming, “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.”
Gates continued, “It’s not as simple as just sharing a recipe — the drug needs to be tried and tested and for this, the manufacturing process has to be done with extreme caution, “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. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. And every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.”
Gates elaborated that the action of rich nations prioritising the vaccine for themselves, unfair as it may appear, is an understandable thing and that he is not surprised.
He also sees the vaccines overflowing to the developing nations once the entire populations of developed nations is vaccinated, “The fact that now we’re vaccinating 30-year-olds in the UK and the US and we don’t have all the 60-year-olds in Brazil and South Africa vaccinated, that’s not fair, but within three or four months the vaccine allocation will be getting to all the countries that have the very severe epidemic”
All in all, ruthless as the comments of Bill Gates appear, from the point-of-view of the rich nations and their duty towards their citizens, all these make sense.