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Trump reportedly tried to poach a German firm working on coronavirus vaccine for exclusive access

An unidentified German government source reportedly claimed that Trump would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, "but only for the United States."

Trump reportedly tried to poach a German firm working on coronavirus vaccine for exclusive access
Image Source: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he returns on March 3, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Since coming to power a little over 3 years ago, the Trump administration has displayed an unprecedented talent in making a bad situation exponentially worse. While governments across the globe have been working overtime to restrict the spread of COVID-19, the President of the United States chose to dangerously downplay the impact of the pandemic. Way too many citizens have raised the alarm on how it's practically impossible to get tested for the virus in the country, despite Trump claims in that disastrous Oval Office speech last week that "our nation's unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak" is "the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history." Yeah, right.



 

If you thought he couldn't possibly make things worse for Americans at this time, Trump—the self-proclaimed maker of great deals—is now being accused of trying to poach a German firm working on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. According to The New York Times, German officials told reporters over the weekend that the Trump administration made attempts to persuade a biopharmaceutical company named CureVac to move its research work to the United States aiming to gain exclusive access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the firm.



 

Reuters' Paul Carrel and Andreas Rinke reported on Sunday that Berlin is trying to halt Washington's interest in the firm with German politicians insisting that no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine. The report stated that the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper had previously reported of President Trump offering "large sums of money" to lure CureVac to the United States, prompting the German government to make counteroffers to convince the firm to stay. An unidentified German government source was quoted as saying that Trump was trying to secure the scientists' work exclusively and that he would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, "but only for the United States."



 

While Richard Grenell—the U.S. ambassador to Germany—denied the claims, another U.S. official said: "This story is wildly overplayed... We will continue to talk to any company that claims to be able to help. And any solution found would be shared with the world." Meanwhile, German government sources confirmed claims about the U.S. government's interest in CureVac. The offer is said to have followed a March 2 meeting at the White House that included the chief executive of CureVac, Daniel Menichella. The meeting was reportedly briefly attended by President Trump and also included Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force.



 

In a statement on the day of the meeting, Menichella—an American who headed the firm for two years—said that "we are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months." However, last week CureVac announced that Menichella is leaving the company, without giving any reason for his sudden departure. The company also issued a statement describing its vaccine work on Sunday, which states: "CureVac refrains from commenting on current media speculations and clearly rejects claims about the sale of the company or its technology."



 

Meanwhile, Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, revealed that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lead a crisis meeting with ministers on Monday during which they will discuss a defense strategy for the firm. The coronavirus is no longer merely a health crisis, but "a question of national security," Seehofer said Sunday. He added that it's up to the government to ensure the security of not just its borders and food supply, but also "our medical products and our medicines." 



 

According to The Guardian, news of Trump attempting to poach CureVac has triggered angry responses from several German ministers. "Germany is not for sale," said economy minister Peter Altmaier. Erwin Rueddel, a conservative lawmaker on the German parliament's health committee, said that "international co-operation is important now, not national self-interest." Meanwhile, German health minister, Jens Spahn, said a takeover of CureVac by the Trump administration was "off the table" and that the firm would only develop a vaccine "for the whole world" and "not for individual countries."



 

CureVac, a privately held biotechnology firm that has its headquarters in the southwestern city of Tübingen, Germany, reportedly started research on a number of different vaccines and is now picking the two best prospects for clinical trials. The firm hopes to have an experimental vaccine that could go into trials as early as June or July. May other companies are currently working on developing vaccines for COVID-19.



 

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