Spain backs vaccine patent waiver, calls for more international cooperation

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MADRID (Reuters) -The Spanish government on Thursday said a U.S. proposal to waive patents on coronavirus vaccines signals the "way forward" but will not be enough to guarantee supplies to developing countries. 

  Approving such a suspension of intellectual property rights would take time and, in the meantime, pharmaceutical companies should be flexible in granting voluntary licences, it said in a working paper entitled Vaccines for All. 

  The paper, which Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is due to present on Friday at a European Union summit in Porto, calls for the removal of trade barriers and logistical hurdles to reduce a global shortfall in vaccine production. 

  "Unequal access to vaccines between developed and developing countries is not only at the core of a feeling of injustice, but also poses a health risk for the world," the paper read. 

  Spain also proposed a platform to monitor global vaccine manufacturing sites and match idle production capacity with demand. 

  Taking advantage of a slowdown in global air transport, the paper suggests airlines should work with international organisations to play a greater role in vaccine distribution. 

  (Reporting by Nathan AllenEditing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy) 

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