Sunday, June 20

Coronavirus: US-Germany rivalry for laboratory looking for Corona virus vaccine

The United States has engaged in a standoff with Germany to try to secure exclusivity for a vaccine against the new corona virus vaccine currently under development by a German laboratory, Die Welt said on Saturday.

According to the German newspaper, US President Donald Trump is trying to attract German scientists working on a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus with significant financial resources, thereby obtaining exclusivity for his country.

The vaccine would then be “only for the United States,” a source close to the German government told the newspaper.

Berlin would try to keep its hand on this company by offering in turn attractive financial conditions.

This rivalry concerns the biotechnology company CureVac, based in Tubingen in Baden-Wurttemberg. It also has sites in Frankfurt and Boston in the United States.

Founded in 2000, it presents itself as a company specializing in “the development of cancer therapies, antibody-based therapies, treatment of rare diseases and prophylactic vaccines”.

This laboratory is currently working in partnership with the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, which specializes in research on vaccines and reports to the German Ministry of Health, to produce a vaccine against COVID-19.

“The German government is very interested that the development of vaccines and active substances against the new corona virus be carried out in Germany and in Europe,” confirmed a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Die Welt .

In this regard, “the government is in intensive exchange with CureVac,” added this source.   

Former CureVac boss Daniel Menichella was invited to the White House on March 2 to meet with Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and representatives of pharmaceutical companies working on the response to the epidemic, announced the company on its site, without specifying any financial offers offered.

“We are very confident in our ability to develop a powerful vaccine within a few months,” said Mr. Menichella, who has since been replaced at the head of CureVac by Ingmar Hoerr, in a press release published by his company.

She said she hoped to start “in early summer 2020” the first clinical trials.