Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it supported waiving patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines, calling the pandemic a “global health crisis.”

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

Waiving those protections would theoretically let countries and organizations manufacture patented vaccines without facing repercussions. But they would need to have the expertise and materials on hand to…

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