The recent ease in global demand for the blue metal cobalt has dampened concerns about a pending supply crunch. Earlier reports predicted that ... the world’s appetite for batteries would lead to a situation of demand outstripping supply for cobalt by the end of the 2020s.
India and South Africa had first made similar requests back in October 2020. The US, the UK and Switzerland – countries that have significant pharmaceutical industries – argue that waiving patents will discourage companies from investing in the research and development necessary for vaccine development.
The roll-out of vaccines
The WTO works on the basis of consensus. Even if the majority want a waiver, the wealthy minority have stalled their request. In the present form, most people in developing economies are unlikely to be vaccinated this year. Substantial numbers will have to wait until next year or even later.