WHO chief calls for waiving of patents on tools to fight COVID-19

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FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - The head of the World Health Organization said on Friday that now was the time for the waiving of patents on the tools poorer countries needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was addressing a briefing before next week's World Trade Organization meeting on issue.

"One of our main priorities now is to increase the ambition of COVAX to help all countries end the COVID-19 pandemic. This means urgent action to ramp up production," he said, referring to the global platform to share vaccines that he said would have sent products to 51 countries by next week.

(Reporting by Emma Frage and Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Edmund Blair)