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German vaccine to ‘ease problems’, says company behind CureVac

Wacker's head Christian Hartel, whose company will produce the CureVac vaccines, told Frankfurter Rundschau, a German newspaper, that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) may approve the product before the beginning of May.
ANDREA FASANI/PAP/EPA

German chemical company Wacker has said that the production of the CureVac vaccine could ease problems caused by the brief suspension in administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Wacker’s head Christian Hartel, whose company will produce the CureVac vaccines, told Frankfurter Rundschau, a German newspaper, that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) may approve the product before the beginning of May.

According to the company, that is much earlier than had been planned, and therefore it wants to start producing vaccines in the first half of 2021, and reach full production capacity in July.

If all goes to plan, 100 million doses of the vaccine will come off the line a year in the German company alone, Frankfurter Rundschau wrote.

The European market could also be supplied with CureVac vaccines made by the German pharmaceutical concern Bayer and Switzerland’s Novartis.

Frankfurter Rundschau praised the idea of Wacker producing the vaccine. “There are talks of serious side effects from the vaccine (AstraZeneca),” it wrote. “None of this has yet been proven. But still: a different vaccine on the market would help a lot.”

Hartel went on to claim that his company could even double production to 200 million doses per year.

The EMA began an accelerated assessment of the CureVac vaccine in mid-February. However, the Tubingen-based biotechnology company responsible for developing the vaccine expects that the process will not be completed by the end of the second quarter (end of June). The assessment process has been complicated by the emergence of new virus variants.

The contract, struck between the European Commission and CureVac in November 2020, provides for the production of 225 million doses, with an option of an additional 180 million. The vaccine is based on mRNA technology, similar to the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna products.


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