ZURICH, May 6 (Reuters) - The Swiss government said on
Thursday a U.S. announcement that it would support waiving
intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines was
significant but left many questions unanswered.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind
waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and
his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, backed negotiations at
the World Trade Organization.
Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
said in an emailed statement: "This is an important announcement
by the U.S., but many questions remain unanswered about the
specific solutions it is considering in this context."
SECO said Switzerland was still convinced that waiving
intellectual property rights in the context of the pandemic
could not guarantee fair, affordable and rapid access to
vaccines, drugs and diagnostic products related to COVID-19.
It said Switzerland would examine the U.S. request and its
consequences on the Swiss position, with the United States
itself and within the World Trade Organisation.
Swiss company Lonza makes ingredients for Moderna's
COVID-19 shot, while Swiss drugmaker Novartis
makes COVID-19 vaccines for Germany's CureVac.
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz;
Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Dan Grebler)