UPDATE 1-GAVI welcomes Biden move on vaccines, urges U.S. manufacturers to transfer know-how

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(Adds quotes, appeal for donations to COVAX)

GENEVA, May 6 (Reuters) - The GAVI vaccine alliance on Thursday welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden's support for waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and also urged Washington to help manufacturers transfer know-how to boost global production.

The Geneva-based group, which co-leads the COVAX dose-sharing programme with the World Health Organization (WHO), faces major supply constraints after India suspended vaccine exports due to its major COVID-19 epidemic.

"We recognise also the significance of the (Biden) administration’s commitment to work towards increasing raw material production, which will have an immediate impact on alleviating current global supply constraints," it told Reuters in a statement.

"GAVI urges now that in the interests of global equitable access, that the US supports manufacturers to transfer not only IP but also know-how in a bid to urgently boost global production."

The AstraZeneca vaccine, made by the Serum Institute of India, has been the mainstay of COVAX so far. The facility has provided 53 million COVID-19 vaccines to 121 countries and jurisdictions. It aims to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021, half of which will go to 92 lower-income countries.

“Gavi also urges the international community to share doses with COVAX immediately to help those countries that have been worst hit by current global supply constraints and urgently need to protect their most at-risk populations," the statement said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet and Nick Macfie)

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