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World German officials to discuss report of U.S. seeking to secure rights to coronavirus vaccine

04:35  16 march  2020
04:35  16 march  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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German officials will hold crisis meetings on Monday to discuss a reported attempt by the United States government to secure the rights to any coronavirus vaccine developed by a German pharmaceutical company, The Washington Post reported.

German officials to discuss report of U.S. seeking to secure rights to coronavirus vaccine © Getty German officials to discuss report of U.S. seeking to secure rights to coronavirus vaccine

The German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported on Sunday that the Trump administration wanted to gain the rights to a potential vaccines and move research and development on it to the U.S., according to the Washington Post.

The German newspaper reported that the vaccine would be developed "only for the USA."

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German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, asked by The Post to confirm the story, said he "heard from several other members of government today that is the case."

Reuters also reported Sunday that German government sources confirmed that U.S. administration is examining how it could access a vaccine developed by the German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac.

The Monday meeting will also include German health officials and Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.

CureVac said in a Sunday statement that it is "focused on the development of a coronavirus vaccine with the goal to reach, help and to protect people and patients worldwide."

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The company also said it "abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology."

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CureVac said on its website that CureVac CEO Daniel Menichella met with President Trump and Vice President Pence earlier this month to discuss a coronavirus vaccine. The CEO said at the time he was "very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months."

The German health ministry did not confirm the report, according to the Washington Post. A spokesperson told the newspaper that it is "interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe."

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An anonymous White House official confirmed to the Washington Post that White House aides were unaware of President Trump sending any communications or offers to CureVac, but the person could not say absolutely if any discussion occurred.

Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany and the acting director of national intelligence, tweeted Sunday that the German report "was wrong."

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

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