Countries could ignore patents for coronavirus treatments, vaccines if unavailable internationally

Coronavirus vaccine development.
(Image credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

While the leaders of several countries have called for a global, egalitarian approach to distributing a potential coronavirus vaccine or treatment, there's some concern that certain governments, including those in Washington, Beijing, and New Delhi, are intent on prioritizing domestic use, NBC News reports.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department expressed such a sentiment in a March statement, while an op-ed in China's state-run newspaper The Global Times said "China has to be by itself in this crucial field." Billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, the owner of the Serum Institute of India — the world's largest vaccine producer by volume — has said the majority of a coronavirus vaccine "would have to go to our countrymen before it goes abroad."

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