Germany awarded $745 million in funding to biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac on Tuesday to speed up work on COVID-19 vaccines and expand German production capacity.
In a warning against political pressure to rush the process, Research Minister Anja Karliczek stressed that safety should remain the utmost priority to ensure vaccines will be accepted by the broader population.
“Even when the world is waiting for a vaccine – we won’t take risky short-cuts here,” she told a news conference in Berlin.
Both BioNTech and CureVac are among the leading developers of experimental COVID-19 vaccines, based on molecules carrying a genetic code called messenger RNA (mRNA).
The ministry said it was still in talks to provide funding to a third company, IDT Biologika, which produces vaccines for other pharmaceutical companies and is working on its own so-called viral vector vaccine.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said it was important to have a broad portfolio of vaccines and that Germany would look to secure more doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines in advance than its population size.
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