by Chris White
U.S. President Donald Trump pushed a German company to move its research on a coronavirus vaccine to the United States, according to media reports Sunday, citing German officials who worry the U.S. is trying swipe their technology.
Trump and the executive of German company CureVac, Daniel Menichella, convened at a March 2 meeting to discuss any such offer, according to a report from The New York Times. Trump attended the meeting as did Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading a coronavirus task force.
“We are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months,” Menichella, an American, said in a statement the day of the meeting.
CureVac announced less than a week ago that Menichella would leaving the company, TheNYT noted.
CureVac is dismissing reports of the offer.
“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,” the company’s Twitter account wrote Monday. “CureVac rejects all allegations from press.”
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
The White House referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to CureVac’s tweet. U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told his Twitter followers Sunday afternoon that the a report from Welt am Sonntag German newspaper discussing Trump’s offer is “not true.”
“The Welt story was wrong. But Business Insider, Reuters and others went with it anyway despite not having their own sources. Now everyone is back peddling,” Grenell said in his Sunday afternoon tweet.
Not true. The Welt story was wrong. But Business Insider, Reuters and others went with it anyway despite not having their own sources. Now everyone is back peddling. https://t.co/88UohluwTj
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 15, 2020
German officials, meanwhile, are not assuaged, according to TheNYT. Coronavirus is a “question of national security,” Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said Sunday, adding that it is up to the German government to protect “our medical products and our medicines.”
Another German official who spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to speak to the media said CureVac was offered a “large sum of money.” German authorities are slated to discuss Monday Trump’s alleged attempts to effectively purchase CureVac’s vaccines.
Trump is poking and prodding companies into helping the country tackle the coronavirus pandemic, otherwise known as COVID-19, which began in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The virus spread since February to 36 other countries and territories and has a global death toll of 3,041, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States is growing, with more than 1,000 in 39 states as the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic Wednesday. A global pandemic is a virus that spreads across the world such that tens of thousands of people are infected.
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Chris White is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.