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World Health Assembly: Intellectual Property in the SEA Region

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is being held virtually this week, including delegations from 194 World Health Organization member states. These officials will discuss the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and determine the priorities of the Organization for the year ahead.

Now, more than ever, the Assembly must acknowledge that competitive and reliable intellectual Property (IP) protections are the backbone of the research and development that scientists around the world are depending on to address this global health pandemic.

This is a critical time to acknowledge the protections that will allow biopharmaceutical innovators to develop breakthrough treatments and vaccines to combat this novel strain of coronavirus for those in Southeast Asia and around the globe.

For a limited period of time, IP assures innovators that their new inventions are protected from imitators, encouraging them to pursue new ideas. At the same time, innovators must publish their insights and findings so others can learn from their research and use it to find the next life changing discovery.

As innovators in Southeast Asia and around the world continue to invest in new discoveries to prevent and treat COVID-19, World Health Organization member states must support strong IP protections.

The importance of these measures extend far beyond the here and now, paving the way for future breakthrough therapies like those needed to address current and future public health crises. Recognition from the world’s leading health officials can further inspire scientists and researchers from all corners of the world to address these issues together.

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