Germany and the United States of America appear to be fighting over the rights to coronavirus vaccine research.
This tussle was sparked by reports that US President Donald Trump wanted the US to buy exclusive access to a potential vaccine developed by a German biotech firm.
Die Welt newspaper reported that Trump offered “a billion dollars” to secure research into a vaccine by German biotech firm CureVac “only for the United States”.
“Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday, reacting to the report.
German foreign minister, Heiko Maas on Monday told the USA that the vaccine research was not for sale.
Heiko Maas comments, told media group Funke that “German researchers play a leading role in drug and vaccine development and we cannot allow others to seek exclusive results”.
Scientists have been racing to develop a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus that has killed some 6,000 people.
German officials alarmed over what they see as Trump’s aggressive 1bn US$ bid to take over Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company Curevac to secure possible COVID19 vaccine “just for US”. Officials to offer incentives to Curevac & consider blocking sale.https://t.co/SByVxMzs72 pic.twitter.com/E7YEtzSDRE
— Thorsten Benner (@thorstenbenner) March 15, 2020
Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer was asked about the report and he said “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.”
Meanwhile a United States government official has said that a clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin this week.
According to the official the first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday.
The American media reported that the official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the National Institutes of Health is funding the trial.
The trial of the potential vaccine is taking place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Washington state, the official said.
Testing of the vaccine will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.
According to officials there’s no chance participants could get infected from the shots, since they don’t contain the virus itself.
The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests.
But health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.