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Trump offers 'large sums' for exclusive access to coronavirus vaccine | US news


The Trump administration has offered a German medical company “large sums of money” for exclusive access to a Covid-19 vaccine, German media have reported.

The German government is trying to fight off what it sees as an aggressive takeover bid by the US, the broadsheet Die Welt reports, citing German government circles.

The US president had offered the Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company CureVac “large sums of money” to gain exclusive access to their work, wrote Die Welt.

The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

The UN agency advises people to:

  • Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
  • Seek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers
  • Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.

Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit – but not eliminate – the risks, provided it is used correctly.

Justin McCurry

According to an anonymous source quoted in the newspaper, Trump was doing everything to secure a vaccine against the coronavirus for the US, “but for the US only”.

The German government was reportedly offering its own financial incentives for the vaccine to stay in the country.

When approached about the report by the Guardian, the German health ministry would only confirm the accuracy of the quotes attributed to one of its spokespersons in the article.

“The federal government is very interested in vaccines and antiviral agents against the novel coronavirus being developed in Germany and Europe,” the spokesperson quoted in the original article had said. “In this regard the government is in an intensive exchange with the company CureVac.”

The German health ministry spokesperson declined the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies in Die Welt’s account.

With its headquarters in the south-western German city of Tübingen, CureVac also has sites in Frankfurt and Boston in the US. Linked with the German health ministry, it works closely with the Paul Ehrlich Institute, a research institution and medical regulatory body that is subordinate to the German health ministry.


On 11 March, CureVac released a statement that its CEO, the US citizen Daniel Menichella, was unexpectedly leaving the firm and would be replaced by the company’s founder, Ingmar Hoerr.

At the start of the month, Menichella was invited to the White House in Washington to discuss strategy for the rapid development and production of a coronavirus vaccine with Trump, the vice-president, Mike Pence, and members of the White House coronavirus task force.

The White House has been contacted for comment.

Additional reporting by Oliver Laughland

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