March 16th, 2020

Harriet Vane

Trump trying to secure monopoly rights for himself & US over a COVID-19 vaccine

Friends,

This has been reported in the Guardian and two German newspapers:  the German stories are in German so here is the Guardian article and CNBC:


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/15/trump-offers-large-sums-for-exclusive-access-to-coronavirus-vaccine


https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/15/coronavirus-germany-tries-to-stop-us-luring-away-firm-seeking-vaccine.html

A friend put it this way to me: "As so often when you think a person can't possibly sink any lower, you are proven wrong: news has just broken that Trump is trying to acquire exclusive rights to an anti-Covid vaccine being developed by a biotech company here in Germany. It makes you wonder if he and his minions are up to the same thing in other countries ...  The good news for the rest of the world is that said vaccine is being jointly developed between the CureVac company and a government-owned institute, which should hopefully prevent this shockingly self-serving and short-sighted deal taking place"

This is just the sort of thing tha one might expect. He seems so passive and awkward in public: he does not care who lives or dies and doesn't want to do anything in the least which disrupts anyone's profit . It is no less morally bankrupt to try to grab the vaccine and control it for the US -- it is weaponizing the vaccine, turning illness and death in means of coercing others to your will.


Here is the (machine) translation of the German article:
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The Tübingen-based company CureVac is carrying out high-pressure research on a corona vaccine. According to WELT AM SONNTAG information, the US government wants to secure exclusive rights to the vaccine. The German government is trying to prevent this.

The corona crisis has led to a tangible - albeit indirect - economic policy dispute between the USA and Germany. The reason: US President Donald Trump is apparently trying to lure German scientists working on a potential corona vaccine to America with large financial contributions or to secure the drug exclusively for his country. WELT AM SONNTAG learned about this from German government circles.

The company in question is Tübingen-based CureVac, which is working with the Paul Ehrlich Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs in order to produce a vaccine against the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Daniel Menichella, until last Wednesday head of the company, attended a meeting of pharmaceutical managers with President Trump at the White House at the beginning of March.

The US president is allegedly offering the German company a large sum of money to secure its work. There is talk of a billion dollars in Berlin. Especially problematic is: Trump is doing everything to get a vaccine for the United States. "But only for the United States," the German government says.

The German government is now trying to stop Trump's actions. If it were only about the research work of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, it would not be difficult for the federal government to do so. Because the Paul Ehrlich Institute is owned by the state. The government could stop the sale at any time. But CureVac is a private company. A sales ban is only possible under special conditions.

However, the German government is currently taking a different approach: representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are negotiating with CureVac. "The German government is very interested in the development of vaccines and active substances against the novel coronavirus in Germany and Europe," confirmed a spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, WELT AM SONNTAG, adding that "the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac in this regard.

According to Berlin, Germany is trying to keep the company with financial offers. However, no agreement had been reached by Friday noon. CureVac itself refused to answer questions.

From the perspective of government representatives, the dispute extends beyond the specific individual case. The sale of a company with a drug that is vital for survival is a question of national security, they say. For the extreme case, reference is made to paragraph 6 of the Schengen border code.

This states that "border controls should contribute to combating illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings and to preventing any threat to the internal security, public order, public health and international relations of the Member States".

Indeed, a brain drain or a brain drain of research results is currently considered a public policy issue in some ministries. A ban on the sale of a company under the Foreign Trade and Payments Act is also not ruled out as soon as public order or security are threatened.

It is true that other companies are also researching a corona vaccine. However, the growing number of infected people is likely to increase the pressure on the German government to keep CureVac with its potential active substance in the country.

3/16, 8:30 am:  The New York Times has now picked the story up.

Miss Drake