Roughly one year after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seized control of the global response to COVID-19 with the goal of providing "equitable access" to a vaccine, Bill Gates & Co. have accomplished the opposite: The Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator mechanism, backed by the Gates Foundation, has a stated policy of respecting the exclusive intellectual property rights of western drugmakers. At the same time, the WHO-backed alternative solution, known as Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, or C-TAP, which was supposed to foster an open-source pool of vaccine and drug technology, has mostly faltered.
As India's second-wave COVID-19 outbreak spirals out of control, more parties have come forward to criticize Gates for his support of IP protections. Considering the scarcity of the medicines, there have been increasing calls from countries like India and South Africa, international relief organizations and other public figures to waive IP protections so that poorer countries can get faster access to the vaccines. WTO Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has led a host of emerging-market nations in a push to waive IP protections, arguing that numerous facilities exist that could ramp up production in the coming months.