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Cyber Operations against Vaccine R & D: Key International Law Prohibitions and Obligations

By August, COVID-19 had killed 700,000 people world-wide, while at least 18 million have been infected by the virus. It now appears that the best hope for battling the pandemic may lie in multiple vaccines. This reality has sparked vaccine nationalism, as states compete for the supplies that hopefully will become available early next year. For instance, the United States has paid for the right to hundreds of millions of vaccine doses from domestic and foreign companies in Operation Warp Speed. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are following suit.  Another almost predictable response has been “vaccine espionage.” In mid-July, a consensus report of the UK’s National Cyber Security Center, the US National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security, and Canada’s Communications Security Establishment alleged that “[t]hroughout 2020, APT29 has targeted various organisations involved in COVID-19 vaccine development in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, highly likely with the intention of stealing information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of COVID-19…

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Is the National Security Exception in the TRIPS Agreement a Realistic Option in Confronting COVID-19?

It has been suggested by some scholars and commentators that states can invoke the national security exception in the TRIPS Agreement as part of measures to tackle COVID-19 (see here, here, and here). This would entail invoking the security exception to suspend the enforcement of patent rights in order to facilitate either the importation or…

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COVID-19 and EJIL

We are pulled in opposite directions in the face of a global upending of normal life. We find it attractive, even if hunkered down at home, as is our whole editorial team, in six different countries, to continue serenely our normal work in the face of a-normalcy. The life of the mind, the scholarly endeavor continues – even…

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Corporate Human Rights Due Diligence in times of COVID-19

The lockdown measures imposed following the COVID-19 outbreak have generated novel and significant challenges for businesses.  As firms redouble their efforts to ensure business continuity and redirect supply chains – and, in some jurisdictions, transition back to normal operating conditions – there is heightened risk of adverse human rights impacts materialising throughout the value chain, where such risk…

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CITES reform: Enhanced wildlife trade regime needed to avoid next pandemic

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has been called ‘the most successful of all international treaties concerned with the conservation of wildlife’ (Lyster, 2010). Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn increasing attention to the Convention’s serious shortcomings in and regulating wildlife exploitation. Highlighting the link between pandemics and wildlife exploitation, researchers have suggested…

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