German vaccine developer denies reports of Trump’s exclusive offer

Berlin, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- A German pharmaceutical company on Monday rejected media reports that the United States had offered to buy the exclusive rights for a vaccine against the coronavirus.

German media on Sunday claimed that US President Donald Trump had tried to offer “large sums of money” to CureVac, for exclusive access to a vaccine it is developing to fight the COVID-19 disease.

The reports have led to widespread condemnations from the German political class, who have rebuffed the reported attempts to buy exclusive access to a vaccine that is sorely needed around the world, as the number of cases of the coronavirus continue to spiral, especially in Europe.

But the company headquartered in the southwest German state of Baden Wuerttemberg, quickly issued statements denying the reports.

“We abstain from commenting on speculation and reject allegations about offers for acquisition of our company or our technology” the company said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday, before clarifying a day later, “Curevac has not received from the US government or related entities an offer. Curevac rejects all allegations from (the) press”.

Even though CureVac had denied the allegations on Sunday, the report has triggered a wave of criticism against the US government from German political leaders.

“Our laboratories are working to create a vaccine for everyone, without exclusivity,” government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said on Monday. It is in the common interest “to fight against the pandemic” which she said “knows no borders”.

“We totally reject this possibility,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economy, whose minister, Peter Altmaier, told German public TV on Sunday that “Germany is not for sale.”

Trump’s alleged offer, first reported by Sunday newspaper Die Welt, was also heavily criticized by Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, who posted a short statement on his official Twitter account saying “German researchers are global leaders in the development of medicines and vaccines for the world. We cannot allow others to exclusively acquire their research results.”

In statements to the Funke media group, Maas said he had discussed the issue with his counterparts from Canada, South Korea, Brazil and Australia, and underlined that it would be something to table at the G7 crisis response meeting, due to take place this week.

“We all have the same goal: to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. It is therefore all the more important to coordinate measures. We need more, not less cooperation right now.”

The White House has not commented on the reports. EFE-EPA


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