CureVac, a German biotech company that also has a branch in Boston, is working on a vaccine to COVID-19 and hopes to have it ready "perhaps before autumn."
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, mentioned the company during an update on the coronavirus pandemic and provided the "autumn" projection for a vaccine. She also said that the European Union is making available up to €80 million to help CureVac in their work in finding a vaccine.
The @EU_Commission works around the clock to address the coronavirus. The EU:— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 17, 2020
▪️brings home EU citizens stranded outside the 🇪🇺
▪️supports companies+people who risk losing their jobs
▪️accelerates & funds research to develop vaccines
▪️works w/ industry & govs on more equipment pic.twitter.com/hJURqecjC7
Although there is hope that said vaccine could be created by around fall, Sarah Wheaton of Politico questioned von der Leyen during a press conference on how realistic the projection was since experts have put the timeline on finding a vaccine and getting it to the public closer to 12-18 months. You can find the question being asked at around the 12 minute mark in the above video.
Von der Leyen hopes for vaccine by ‘autumn,’ defying expert predictions https://t.co/QqIl3VElwc— Sarah Wheaton (@swheaton) March 17, 2020
Speaking to Politico, CureVac spokesman Thorsten Schüller declined to comment on the projection mentioned by von der Leyen for the vaccine but did say that the process usually takes "years."
It was also recently reported that Trump, during a March 2 White House meeting with CureVac CEO Daniel Menichella, offered a "large sum" to the company and requested that they move operations from Germany to the United States. German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag reported that Trump offered the company around $1 billion for access to a vaccine, according to the New York Times. CureVac has denied the reports.
To make it clear again on coronavirus: CureVac has not received from the US government or related entities an offer before, during and since the Task Force meeting in the White House on March 2. CureVac rejects all allegations from press.— CureVac (@CureVacAG) March 16, 2020
A few days after the White House meeting, it was announced that Menichella was stepping down from his role and leaving the company. "We are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months," Menichella said in a statement earlier this month before his departure.
In other news, on Monday, vaccine trials for the coronavirus were administered at Seattle's Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute to a group of volunteers.
This is the first test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine by U.S. researchers. pic.twitter.com/dCeBb34GzP— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 17, 2020
As of Tuesday, there have been nearly 200,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and over 7,900 deaths.