Vaccines against COVID-19 have led at least nine people to become billionaires, such as the French president of the Moderna laboratory, Stéphane Bancel, whose accumulated fortune would allow him to vaccinate the poorest countries, the NGO Oxfam said on Thursday.

Those new fortunes arose “thanks to the huge profits of pharmaceutical groups that have a monopoly on the production of vaccines against covid,” said Oxfam in a statement released ahead of a G20 summit on health Friday in Rome.

The figures are based on the classification of the American magazine Forbes, and published by the “People’s Vaccine Alliance”, of which Oxfam is a part, which groups together organizations and personalities that demand free anticovid vaccines around the world.

The accumulated fortune of the nine aforementioned billionaires (19,300 million dollars) “would allow to vaccinate 1.3 times to all low-income countries”, which “have only received 0.2% of the vaccines produced in the world”, according to Oxfam.

The two fortunes of the group that stand out are those of the president of Modern, Stéphane Bancel, with 4.3 billion dollars, and the president and co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, with 4,000 million dollars.

The other billionaires in the pharmaceutical industries have had accumulated increases in their wealth of 32.2 billion dollars, “enough to vaccinate the entire population of India,” the statement added.

These vaccines were financed with public funds and should be, above all, a global public good,” said Sandra Lhote-Fernandes of Oxfam France, who called for “an urgent end to these monopolies”.

The European Commission assured this Wednesday that the European Union (EU) will be “constructive” in the World Trade Organization (WTO) when evaluating a lifting of patents for anticovid vaccines, requested by Washington.

However, it clarified that it will first propose to adopt measures to rapidly increase vaccine production.

The day before, African, European and other countries, as well as international organizations present at a meeting in Paris on African economies, demanded to lift the patents of anticovid vaccines to allow their production in Africa.

However, “key members of the G20, such as the United Kingdom and Germany, continue to block initiatives that aim to lift barriers linked to intellectual property” on vaccines, Oxfam denounced, which also noted an “ambiguous position” by France on the topic.

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