Coronavirus vaccine: Trump offers $1b to German firm

The Trump administration offered as much as $1billion to a German company working on a coronavirus vaccine to make it available for exclusive use by the U.S., a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump approached scientists employed by CureVac, a German pharmaceutical company based in Tuebingen, and tried to lure them to work for the U.S., Welt am Sonntag reported.

Trump’s lucrative offer was explicitly made to secure any future vaccine “only for the U.S.,” the newspaper said, citing anonymous sources in the German government.

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

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When approached for comment, the German Health Ministry referred German news agency, DPA to an earlier statement made to the paper:

“The government is very keen that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus is developed in Germany and in Europe,” a spokesperson said.

“The government is in intensive discussions to that end with the CureVac company,” the spokesperson added.

CureVac is reportedly working with the Paul Ehrlich Institute, a German body responsible for approving vaccines and pharmaceuticals, on a coronavirus vaccine.

In a report due to be published in the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper on Monday, CureVac’s investors said they would never consider working on an exclusive vaccine for the United States.

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“We want to develop a vaccine for the whole world and not for individual states,” Christof Hettich, director and co-founder of dievini Hopp BioTech Holding, which is CureVac’s chief investor, told the paper.