Pope Francis offered his support for waiving coronavirus vaccine patents to boost supplies to poorer countries, in a video message to the Vax Live concert.
The Argentine pontiff supported “universal access to the vaccine and the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights” in the recording made in his native Spanish.
François, who has repeatedly mentioned the need to share vaccines, condemned the “virus of individualism” which “makes us indifferent to the suffering of others”.
“A variant of this virus is closed nationalism, which prevents, for example, an internationalism of vaccines,” he said. “Another variation is to place the laws of the market or intellectual property above the laws of the love and health of mankind.”
His comments come after the United States announced its surprise support for a global waiver on patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines.
The move is fiercely opposed by major drugmakers, as they say it would set a precedent that could threaten future innovations, and insist the move would not speed up production.
Many European countries, led by Germany and France, distanced themselves from the suggestion on Friday, saying the key to ending the Covid-19 pandemic was to make and share vaccines faster.
Prince Harry and pop royalty including Jennifer Lopez were among those who took part in Vax Live: The Concert To Bring The World Together, To Call For Faster And Fairer Global Vaccinations.