Fight against corona: curevac: suspend patents for vaccines

Curevac boss Franz-Werner Haas wants to promote international cooperation. Photo: AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE

The head of the Tubingen biotech company Curevac is in favor of not letting the patents expire in the fight against Corona, but suspending them for a short time. This allows research to work faster.

Stuttgart – Franz-Werner Haas, the CEO of the Tubingen biotech company Curevac, calls for close international cooperation to promote the further development of a corona vaccine. In addition to sharing study data on the effectiveness of existing vaccines, it also includes the suspension of patents, he told our newspaper. The patents should be granted in principle, but suspended in the pandemic phase. He is following a recommendation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). "We need each other," says Curevac founder Ingmar Hoerr about combating the pandemic. "The board we are drilling is just too thick."

After Biontech, Curevac is the second German company to launch a Covid-19 vaccine. The crucial test phase began this week. Haas expects first results in the first quarter of 2021. On this basis, he expects preliminary approval and the start of vaccination with the Curevac vaccine in the second quarter of 2021.

The vaccine would thus come onto the market later than the products of some competitors, with which, according to the latest plans, the first Germans will be vaccinated before Christmas. Haas justifies the delay with the fact that he has invested a lot of time in improving the shelf life of his own vaccine. The Curevac vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperature for three months. In contrast, the Biontech vaccine, for example, has to be stored at minus 70 degrees, which complicates the vaccination logistics. In order to fight the pandemic in the long term, intensive vaccinations must be carried out worldwide, demands Hoerr.

In Germany, according to Haas, special groups in need of protection can be vaccinated by the summer. By the end of 2021, it should also be possible to vaccinate all those for whom specific studies still need to be carried out, such as children or people with previous illnesses.

With the corona vaccinations, people older than 80 years as well as people who live or work in old people’s and nursing homes have "top priority". This is what it says in the ministerial draft of the “Ordinance on the right to vaccination against the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus” by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). The minister has announced that he will sign the regulation this Friday.

The group with “highest priority” also includes people who are cared for by outpatient care services or who work there. The vaccination takes place in the centers, the locations of which are determined by the countries. There are 59 vaccination centers in the country. So-called Central Centers have been set up since December 15th.

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