Enlarge /. A man pipettes a blue liquid into a laboratory of the biopharmaceutical company Curevac in Baden-Württemberg on February 24, 2020.
Scientists around the world are looking for a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 – and apparently the Trump administration has tried to woo some of these scientists to be the first to launch the United States, if a vaccine should be developed successfully.
The German pharmaceutical company CureVac has been researching a potential vaccine against the novel corona virus that has brought daily life to a standstill in dozens of countries. At the weekend, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that US President Donald Trump had offered CureVac around $ 1 billion to get the vaccine "only for the United States". The report also says that Germany tried to make a counter offer.
The offer "arose from a meeting on March 2 at the White House," reported the New York Times. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were at least partially present, as was Daniel Menichella, CEO of CureVac.
Menichella said in a statement on the day of the meeting: "We are very confident that we can develop an effective vaccine candidate in a few months." The company has announced elsewhere that it hopes to have an experimental product ready for human testing by June or July. Menichella himself suddenly announced his resignation from the company on March 11 after two years on the top chair.
CureVac publicly denied any takeover or takeover attempt and said in a statement: "The company rejects current rumors of an acquisition." Unnamed US officials who spoke to The Times and others said reports of an attempted takeover were exaggerated.
However, German officials confirmed the world report to Reuters. A spokesman for the German Ministry of Health told Reuters: "The German government is very interested in the fact that vaccines and active substances against the new corona virus are also being developed in Germany and Europe." In this regard, the government is in intensive contact with the company CureVac. "
Officials in Germany and across the EU reacted strongly to the news. The nation's economy minister, Peter Altmaier, told reporters: "Germany is not for sale."
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said a US takeover of CureVac was "off the table" and added that, according to The Guardian, the company would develop a vaccine "for the whole world, not for individual countries".
Several other biopharmaceutical companies around the world, including well-known US companies, are also working to develop vaccines to prevent COVID-19 and new therapies for those who develop them.