- President Donald Trump reportedly tried to poach German scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine so he could secure exclusive rights to it for the US.
- The newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that the Trump administration had offered large sums of cash to Germany-based biotech company CureVac to secure rights for the vaccine work, "but only for the USA."
- The German government is battling back, offering financial incentives to the company to remain in Germany.
- Karl Lauterbach, a senior German politician and professor of epidemiology, said in response to the report: "The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the USA must be prevented by all means. Capitalism has limits."
- CureVac said it had been in contact with many organizations and global authorities but denied "rumors of an acquisition" in a statement Sunday to Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump tried to recruit German scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine and offered large sums of money to secure exclusive rights to their work for the US, according to a report said to be confirmed by the German government.
The prominent German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that Trump had offered large sums of money to lure the Germany-based company CureVac to the US and to secure exclusive rights to a vaccine.
The firm is working with the federally owned Paul Ehrlich Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Medicines on a vaccine for the coronavirus.
CureVac denied "rumors of an acquisition" in a Sunday statement. The biotech company said it had been in contact with many organizations and global authorities but "abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology."
A German government source told the newspaper Trump was trying hard to find a coronavirus vaccine for the US, "but only for the USA."
The newspaper said the German government was fighting back by offering financial incentives to the company if it remained in Germany.
A German health ministry representative told Welt am Sonntag the government was involved in "intensive" discussions with CureVac about keeping the company headquartered in Germany.
"The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe," the newspaper quoted a health ministry official as saying.
"In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac."
In a separate statement, the health ministry told Reuters the Welt am Sonntag report was accurate: "We confirm the report in the Welt am Sonntag," a representative said.
Florian von der Muelbe, CureVac's chief production officer and cofounder, told Reuters last week that the company hoped to have an experimental vaccine ready by June or July so the company could seek permission to start testing on humans.
He said a low-dose vaccine the company hoped to develop could make it suitable for mass production within CureVac's existing facilities.
In a statement last week, CureVac said its outgoing CEO, Daniel Menichella, had been invited to the White House for a meeting with Trump to discuss strategies and opportunities for the production of a coronavirus vaccine.
"We are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months," Menichella said in a statement.
Karl Lauterbach, a senior German politician and professor of health economics and epidemiology, tweeted in response to the story: "The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the USA must be prevented by all means. Capitalism has limits."
Source: Read Full Article