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COVID vaccines

Biden's vaccine patent waiver just start of global supply challenge

Complex tech and limited components restrict production, drugmakers say

WASHINGTON/VIENNA/TOKYO -- President Joe Biden's decision to back a waiver on patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines lowers one hurdle to broader production, but the specialized skills required in quality control and manufacturing look likely to create another bottleneck.

The U.S. announced support Wednesday for temporarily suspending enforcement of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for vaccine patents. The move by one of the WTO's most powerful members opens the door for negotiations to move forward.

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