US & Germany in Tug of War Over Coronavirus Vaccine Licences

17 Mars, 2020, 00:41 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Mandel Ngan  AFP Getty Images

Reuters reported on Sunday that President Donald Trump's administration has been looking into how to get access to CureVac's potential vaccine, and the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that Trump offered CureVac money to move to the United States and make the vaccine exclusively for the U.S.

According to an anonymous German government insider, quoted by the reputable media outlet, Trump was doing all he could with this regard, "but only for the US".

According to the report, the German government has countered the US offer with its own funds in an attempt to keep the company in Germany.

The German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported over the weekend that Trump offered $1 billion to the German company CureVac, whose scientists are trying to develop a vaccine, to move their work to the states and provide an "exclusive" vaccine "only for the USA", according to Reuters.

The Trump administration denied the report.

"Not true. The Welt story was wrong", Richard Grenell, the acting director of National Intelligence and the US ambassador to Germany, tweeted.

CureVac AG, a vaccine and therapeutics developer headquartered in Tübingen, Germany, was approached by the Trump administration to bring the company to the United States, in exchange for funding, according to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

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"Germany is not for sale", Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD, reacting to a front-page report in Welt am Sonntag newspaper headlined "Trump vs Berlin". It rejected "allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology".

"The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the US must be prevented by all means", Karl Lauterbach, an economics and epidemiology professor and a German Social Democrats lawmaker said on Twitter. Company officials said it was striving to have an experimental vaccine by June or July, before applying for permission to test on human subjects.

Companies working on other coronavirus-vaccine approaches include Johnson & Johnson and INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

"The US government has spoken with many (more than 25) companies that claim they can help with a vaccine". The offer allegedly came after now-former CEO Daniel Menichella went to a meeting at the White House with Trump, Mike Pence, and other representatives of pharmaceutical companies.

Dietmar Hopp, a leading investor in CureVac, said in a statement that the company would not sell a vaccine to a single country. Menichella stepped down from the company last week.

"I can only say that I have heard several times today from government officials today that this is the case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow", he said.



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