U.S. Offered ‘Large Sum’ to German Company for Access to Coronavirus Vaccine Research, German Officials Say

The United States says it will share any vaccine breakthroughs with the world, but German officials appeared rattled by its reported overture to a biotech firm.

Comments: 186

  1. Trump is disgusting. The selfish pursuit of his own re-election is his only cause.

  2. @Some Professor Trump & family think money will buy people like money buys them.

  3. Why did Menichella depart? Because he hyped the vaccine timeline as bad as Trump did. "Vaccine in a few months"?? That is irresponsible, because it ignores safety testing, clinical trials, etc.

  4. @Mtkailas Very true. There are a few other companies making wild claims. It takes years, not months.

  5. @Remember I would agree but suspect that, with unlimited resources thrown at it, expedited approvals, and with no difficulty finding patients to enroll in the human phases of the studies necessary for approval, that the vaccine for COVID-19 might be developed faster than the history of other vaccines might suggest; however, months to a year is a pipe dream.

  6. @Remember. How can it take years? We get a new flu vaccine every year for the strains likely to be most prevalent. The H1N1 flu was first reported in April 2009 and they were shipping vaccine by Nov. 2009.

  7. A Canadian doctor named Frederick Banting discovered insulin. He did not patent the product, nor try to make any money from his discovery, he intended that it be provided as cheaply as possible to diabetics. Yet, today in America, big pharma is charging ten times as much for insulin, as any other country in the world. They know that some people will have to ration it, or do without, and may get sicker, or even die. But they don't care.

  8. @skizziks Big Pharma doesn't care about health care or people only the bottom line and filling their pockets with gold after using taxpayer-funded research to develop their products.

  9. @skizziks Big Pharma profiteers often take an old drug, tweak it just enough to get a new patent. This is what happened with OxyContin, insulin and a bunch of others. The industry has long cited research and development as an excuse for price gouging but most new research is conducted at universities, heavily funded by government grants and charitable foundations.

  10. @skizziks The Bantling insulin was a product extracted from animals and not all that expensive to produce, Today insulin is a biologic which is expensive to develop and set up to produce. However, once the initial costs have been recouped it can be produced and sold for less. That is why insulin costs far less in Canada and other countries tjan in the USA - big pharma owns the USA congress.

  11. Having worked in the infectious disease field for forty years anyone who expresses confidence that a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine can be developed in a year is a fool. The search for a vaccine for TB has been going on for over a century. After thirty years we still aren’t close to a vaccine for HIV, not from any lack of effort or resources. And the saddest five words, oft repeated after failed clinical trials are: “But it worked in mice”.

  12. @Steve Projan Curevac has been working on Coronavirus strains since 2005. Maybe they really are close to a breakthrough. Let’s hope so.

  13. Really? Only for the USA? Crossing fingers for the collapse of other countries? This is wild.

  14. After Trump has spent the better part of three years blustering, braying and insulting Germany, one of our closest allies, suddenly, just like a bully, he wants to “let bygones be bygones” and, in essence, steal their labors for himself. I don’t know what the German equivalent of “fold it five ways, and put it where the sun don’t shine” is, but Angela Merkel and Germany would certainly be well within their rights to employ it right about now.

  15. we mostly just use the latter part of the „saying“ but make it more explicit.

  16. The European media has been reporting that Trump’s attempt to buy a German vaccine manufacturer is to produce vaccine exclusively for the United States. My big question, if Trump is able to buy this vaccine, who will be responsible for distribution, Kushner? Pence? Plus will this be available only to those who can pay? Will they only give the vaccine to registered Republicans? Afterall, by attempting to buy exclusive rights to a vaccine for America First (and only), Trump is wants to ignore the other 6 billion people on this planet. And of course “illegal aliens” will not be able to obtain this vaccine (or medical care if ill). I bet that Trump, believes that Salk and Sabin were suckers for not patenting polio vaccines and allowing free worldwide distribution of the vaccine. It took me a while but I figured out Trumps' game. If only the US is vaccinated, visitors to the US would need to prove that they are immune (ie, vaccinated or recovered). Those who are not, will be required to spend 14 days in self-quarantine. This quarantine will be made exclusively at various Trump Hotels where these people would be charged premium prices for that period. Those who are not able to pay for the 14 days will not be issued US visas.

  17. @Perverse Actually I'd be glad to see him as the first test subject - well before any vaccine is found safe.

  18. The man can only see dollar signs. No $, no value.

  19. The current administration is not considered by other nations to be honest or trustworthy. Let that sink in.

  20. @Katrin Agree. -Canada.

  21. We alienate our allies under Trump; this takes it to another level. Ugh.

  22. This is why we are loved throughout the world. Trump expects to do nothing and buy his way out of everything.

  23. @Monsignor_Tequila he buys his way out with our tax money and gets the financial benefit

  24. At a time when it's critical for the world to work together, Trump is consumed by his narcissistic "America First- and only- agenda. To the world; our apologies.

  25. Trump must be terribly sad he wasn’t able to purchase Greenland. I’m sure he’d feel safer there from Coronapocalypse. It’s a close second to trying to bribe, I mean buy, research from other countries.

  26. @Kat Hypothetical Exercise: If he could have bought 3 vials of immunization, after himself, who would have gotten the other two? Bonus question: How much would he have charged his family members for them?

  27. can't you just picture a wall being built around Greenland (one that bears Trump's name in gold), with a sign that says "go Trump, or be gone"?

  28. Trump & Co know no shame. We all knew this but he continues to plumb the depths of depravity daily. God help us, election day can't come fast enough.

  29. Will his supporters remember his infamy on Election Day? Hopefully his terrible handling of this corona virus will be remembered by all the states, red and blue, and send him and his cohorts into the cold with their ill-gotten games. We will still have to endure the faithful judges he appointed to carry out his mission and try to restore our democracy. He has promised his faithful who refused to answer to appear before Congress and now his reaching out to pardon Flynn they know all actions against our legal system put into place by our constitution do not apply to his loyalists. Trump and McConnell must be defeated strongly by all the American voters.

  30. @MK "Will his supporters remember his infamy on Election Day? " Will they even see it as an "infamy"? Or will it be another sign that he exercises the bully's right on their behalf? ...Andrew

  31. Gee, and I thought we were all about America first and alone. Thought trump knew all the best people --turns out they are German people. And for those diehard trump supporters, please read Mr. Leonhardt's column and see how great your dear leader is.

  32. It's amazing how one of the world's most powerful people can't operate without bribery, coercion and extortion. He hasn't any clue of how to cooperate, coordinate or share like a Christian should, even with allies, even with a major medical crisis. The most immoral, selfish President in history, and they want to reelect him!

  33. @mjw Trump is not a powerful person, the job title is, when used properly. Big difference.

  34. @Gulfport Right; and keep in mind, the office of the president of the United States deserves respect. The individual occupying the office gets the respect they deserve.

  35. @Gulfport Huge difference. And there is some question as to the "person" characterization.

  36. Just when you thought it impossible, Trump does something worse than the Ukraine bribery attempt. This is impeachable by any standard. Democrats must investigate this.

  37. @David Henry Unfortunately, disgusting as it is, the legal basis for impeachment resulting in removal from office may not be there. One would have to find a way of demonstrating high crimes and misdemeanors in this clearly revolting behavior. Mere unfitness for office and immorality are not offenses that would necessarily call forth removal from office in a Senate trial. Impeachment on the same kind of grounds that Bill Clinton was impeached could probably pass the House, but to achieve what? This general immorality and unfitness to govern needs to be resolved at the ballot box, but latest polls still give him a 48% confidence rating for his management of this crisis. The voters are the fundamental problem getting to a solution, and in a democracy this is decisive. Even Article 25 is too restrictive to trigger removal from office for revolting behavior. We are stuck with him and his crew of incompetent, fawning and gawking henchmen until November, unless Congress votes to amend the constitution allowing the election to be postponed because of this crisis.

  38. @David Henry There were dozens of impeachable offenses in the Mueller report and yet no impeachment. The Teflon Man lives, only not as a man.

  39. @David Henry the senate will give him a pass

  40. Another reason for all of our former allies to despise us. Worst president in US History.

  41. @JG not merely the worst. also the most destructive.

  42. America First! Now we know how THAT turns out!

  43. "Sir do you have no common decency?" And the answer is a resounding "NO"

  44. @marsh watcher The only part of that question Trump would like is “sir”! Sigh.

  45. @marsh watcher Not just "NO", but "I DON'T CARE, DO YOU?"

  46. @marsh watcher Here's to hoping the country finally recognizes the new, even more dangerous McCarthy in our midst

  47. Another example of Trump reaping what he has sown. From his inauguration "America First!" declaration through countless short-sighted and ill-conceived actions by this administration, all occurring within a highly political and erratic environment, is it any wonder that those who used to be our closest friends and allies are so distrustful. The coronavirus pandemic is a stark illustration of why a world view is in all nations' self-interest, and how we are failing as a nation to be the leader we should be.

  48. Chickens coming home to corona.

  49. This is what happens when our leader does not understand science or listen to trained medical experts. If a pandemic is not cured around the world the US will keep getting infected. Vaccines are not 100%. The recent flu vaccine was 45% effective. We need to work with every country to eradicate Coronavirus.

  50. You can be sure that when Trump tried to get exclusive control of this vaccine, he was seeking both political glory and personal enrichment.

  51. A global pandemic will only be stopped by global efforts. Trump's selfish actions will have long-term results in the world's (lack of) regard for the USA.

  52. More like, Trump planned to move profits from German Research to a firm that would further enrich him and his friends.

  53. @j24 __Josh Kushner and some college buddies own such a firm. It's lost over $100 Million last year. Hmmmm?

  54. The sad thing is that even if this isn't true, it is completely believable given what we know about Trump. He knows nothing about what it is to be fully human.

  55. @David Kannas who’s more likely to lie: the Germans or trump?

  56. Rhetorical question, right!

  57. I hope the Germans stand strong. Capitalism DOES have its limits. Trump can’t use taxpayer’s money to buy his way into another 4 years. German taxpayers have the right to have a German company (which they subsidize), develop a vaccine. They will share any info I have no doubt, when it is developed.

  58. Maybe he should raise the price to two billion dollars to buy the private firm. I am glad that NY Times reports this. Just how low can our government go. Instead of working with the German government, consulting on the vaccine licensing issues, we try to grab it for our own under the table. Trump is running out of magics to win his re-election. Covid-19 will doom his second bit. But if he succeed to beat the virus, he will win again. And the only experienced fighter against the disease lies in the east.

  59. Disgusting predatory behavior. Good on the Germans for not succumbing to the ethics of the New York Mafia in the midst of an international crisis that requires cooperation between countries.

  60. I ate dinner Saturday night at the home of a generous and kind senior - still seemingly healthy - who said she'd like to see him die of this. Not me, I couldn't go that far. I want to see him suffer, and for that we only need vote the monster out of office, if we actually have an election.

  61. @Mark Yew York helped make this man by allowing Himself and their family to do whatever they pleased. Who was asleep at the wheel when trump was building his evil portfolio ?

  62. Just when you think this administration can't sink lower on the moral scale they manage to do just that. Disgusting. Kudos to Germany for putting their foot down.

  63. @Diane M. Hypothetical Exercise: If Trump could have bought 3 vials of immunization, after himself, who would have gotten the other two? Bonus question: How much would he have charged his family members for them?

  64. @peter For himself and his heart-throb, his daughter. The last one would be sold to the highest bidder.

  65. @peter Ez answer: He'd keep the other 2 for when he gets it again.

  66. Apparently I am the only person who remembers the Swine Flu vaccine era in the 1970s. Swine Flu was different from our current situation, of course, because it never showed up. It’s possible that this was due to the mass vaccinations program, but I doubt it. In any event, the vaccine caused Guillain-Barré syndrome in a small but significant percentage of recipients. But before the vaccine was made available, the federal government enacted legislation protecting the drug companies from any liability for side effects. Indeed, I think that the drug companies made such laws a condition of making the vaccine available. At the time, consumer protection was in the forefront and there was a possibility of liability. That is less the case now, when Pharma defendants tend to win all the time, but I bet that the drug companies will demand even stronger immunity legislation before anyone gets near a vaccine. Perhaps in our current climate that would be a good idea. I am very much a pro-vaccination person. But it is well to remember that untested and untried vaccines can come with a cost. We are not talking about time-tested and reliable vaccines here; we are talking about rushed and ad hoc ones.

  67. Give me a break, what fear mongering. Does anyone really think the US would hoard vaccine patents from allies?

  68. @Not 99pct what allies? Since trump has been in office we no longer have allies. We have former allies that no longer trust us.

  69. Yes. I do. Because there’s ample probable character and previous conduct evidence that he would.

  70. @Not 99pct Actually, sadly yes, the allies do fear that very possibility.

  71. So this is what happens when you cut consistently cut educational funding and CDC dollars and then wonder why we’re not leading the world in coming up with a solution.

  72. If a US company developed a vaccine, I'm sure Trump would love to share it with the rest of the world for an exorbitant price. And you can bet everyone in his administration would attempt to own stock in that company. Let's leave management of a Covid-19 vaccine to competent, non-predatory adults.

  73. Being reported the Kushner family and the lower profile Josh, and one his companies, also sought to profit.

  74. @charles almon I read somewhere Josh was meant to be the "nice one". I suppose, when you're coming off a low base like Jared... anyone can seem nice

  75. In 1923 the Canadians involved in the discovery of insulin sold their US patent to the University of Toronto for $1. Banting/Best/Collip did not want to profit off a discovery which saved lives. Frederick Banting stated: "Insulin belongs to the world not to me" Just when you think Donald Trump can go no lower he exceeds expectations. It isn't an exaggeration to term his actions a crime against humanity.

  76. The only thing that Trump and the Republicans care about are the stock markets and shareholders. The rest do not matter. This is the unacceptable dark belly of capitalism.

  77. Just another example showing that if Trump can’t bully compliance, he’ll try to buy it. Here is the logical result of Trump’s zero-sum, the whole world is one big transaction view. Hey, Trump supporters, are you happy with Donald’s craven attempt to jump to the front of the vaccine line. Time for the 25th Amendment. We can’t wait until November..

  78. I’m not surprised the trump administration would attempt bribery to achieve its goals. Btw the stock market should be closed immediately.

  79. You can't listen to Trump's pronouncements. WWTD? Trump is not the US. If he is offering 'Large Sum’ money, it's our money. Not Trump's, not big pharma's

  80. So President Fearless Leader thinks he can buy his way out of what his lack of leadership has created in the US. Let someone else do the work, then take full credit.

  81. Anyone who thinks he would share the vaccine with another country is dreaming. What a great re-election ploy "I looked after Americans first by hoarding a life-saving vaccine for our use" And guaranteed there is money in this deal for him, his family and his wealthy greedy friends. No morals and no shame.

  82. Anyone who thinks he would share the vaccine with another country is dreaming. What a great re-election ploy "I looked after Americans first by hoarding a life-saving vaccine for our use" And guaranteed there is money in this deal for him, his family and his wealthy greedy friends. No morals and no shame.

  83. Another desperate 2020 attempt. Vaccine before November. And his evangelical base would say God was just testing us and now has delivered a miracle and Trump is indeed his messenger! Amen!

  84. Another "perfect phone call.?" It would be valuable to know whose money was on the table? Taxpayer dollars , or was the Trump administration representing private investors who would own and exploit the vaccine?

  85. With such kind of friends, who needs enemies? I would assume that those officials from the German government who intercepted this deal, gave a polite hint to the owners and management of CureVac: The German constitution allows a takeover of companies by the federal state, if deemed essential for the national interest. I don't know whether this clause of the Constitution has ever been applied. But it's there, people know about it, and this would have been a prime example for making use of it.

  86. For the sake of the world, I sincerely hope that any country other than the US develops a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Quite simply, the US can’t be trusted to not profiteer from such an important development.

  87. Has the Trump administration's intervention and distraction slowed down the development of a vaccine? Forcing a company to change leaders in the middle of a pandemic can't be a good thing. The world needs protection from MAGA. And so dose our country.

  88. "raising fears in Berlin that President Trump was trying to assure that any inoculation would be available first, and perhaps exclusively, in the United States." Indeed, as the article states, early reports did seem to indicate that Trump was looking for exclusive American access. I don't buy our administration's denial. Frankly, just the fact that it seems possible, even likely, is an embarrassment. I am, perhaps perversely, reminded of Jonas Salk, who developed one of the first successful Polio vaccines. He could have made billions but plainly stated that the vaccine belonged to the people. As if Trump's speech on Wednesday, showing zero empathy for the rest of the world while gloating about how much better America is supposedly faring, was not bad enough; now we have this report. This is a shameful day for the United States. I did not vote for this man, but I live in a nation that allowed his rise to power.

  89. The last tiny bit of trust in a former ally is gone. So sad.

  90. When Jonas Salk developed the vaccine that ended the terrible scourge of polio, he was asked who owned the patent. His reply: "Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Can you patent the sun?" Contrast that with the attitude of the current administration, whose primary interest is in using taxpayer dollars to secure a lucrative monopoly for its cronies.

  91. Hard to believe a world leader being so callous and thoughtless.. and so lacking in real self-awareness. Trump's kind of self-awareness is truly imaginary.. the kind where reality never intrudes....

  92. Thinking about how to even categorize this. Act of war? It appears the Germans think so and are treating protecting the company from takeover as a national security issue. How do you deal with a one person war? Single combat? Angela vs Donnie! Dueling pistols on Fifth Avenue! Biggest Ratings ever!

  93. Why is it so believable that the President is working a financial/political angle in the midst of a national health crisis? Because he is simultaneously floating a full pardon of Flynn to test the waters on pardoning his fellow collaborators for selling an American Presidential election. No wonder he pardoned Rod Blagojevich for selling Obama's Senate seat.

  94. This is a scandal that has really shocked the Germans. But Americans have spent years saying that the reason their healthcare system costs so much is because they are the one inventing all the medicine that the others profit from. Why would they need Swiss tests and German vaccines now?

  95. Where is the discussion about the thousands of excellent scientists in our national laboratories like NIH, and NIEHS?

  96. Capitalism has limits? What?! Well, not in this country where spineless immoral republicans rule.

  97. When the Trump Administration states that they will share Covid-19 technology with the world, they are no doubt saying America First, the rest of you get in line. I have no doubt that vaccine produced in this country will not be made available to other countries until America's needs are fully met.

  98. I am so sorry, Germany. I’m ashamed of my country. All Trump cares about is getting credit for this vaccine. Keep it safe and release it to the world if you are the first.

  99. ...and I find it more difficult to look into the eyes of the world.

  100. The owner of the foundation that owns 80 % of that company is also a billionaire. And he is a guy with values, integrity and morality, see the difference. He promised that in case they are successfull in finding the vaccine, it's for the world. I sure hope that the world will remember that creepy offer when the virus is survived.

  101. Support the US science and scientists. They would appreciate it.

  102. Trump proves that he will always, always, always find a way to sink lower than one would have thought possible. November couldn't come soon enough.

  103. This is Trump's idea of "Making America Great Again"? A con man negotiating with another con man.

  104. Trump and 'his people' just can't help themselves from doing the wrong thing. Cheating and lying comes to them as naturally as breathing. And they don't see anything wrong with their behavior when confronted, in fact they're outraged that anyone would question it or call them out for the criminal offenses. What a poor excuse for a country we've become.

  105. What did anybody expect? The clear evidence we are behind in testing is same reason: the test Germany developed is used and was recommended by the WHO. The only administration of an infected country refusing to use this $ 160,00 test was, excactly, ours! Why? Simple: somebody saw there is a bigger margin to be had when you can charge for a faulty domestic version $ 3000,00! Somebody should investigate this botched attempt to have tests made here, instead of using what would have been available right away. Critical time (and lives) were lost because of it. And now this, just disgusting.

  106. @svenbi: to be precise, the $160 are actually the cost of a laboratory kit, which is enough to do about 100 individual tests. To do that, you have to provide the labor plus some additional (more basic) chemicals. But still, you can understand why most countries will do these tests for free.

  107. The most serious presidential crime in our history. Every person involved must be prosecuted. Profiteering as people die.

  108. If it’s true that Trump made a money offer for “exclusive” U.S. control and exploitation of CureVac’s coronavirus vaccine research, it testifies to the utter amorality of the man. Is Donnie of a mind to weaponize a vaccine to protect Americans at the expense of countries in the world that he doesn’t like?

  109. Of course the US would share any vaccine. You know at $10,000 a shot.

  110. @Deb Available exclusively thru the newly formed Small Business: "Jared's Just-in-Time Vaccine Company"... Out motto: Bigly enough to protect YOU ( for a price) and small enough to still qualify for any SBA Lo-Interest loans! MAGA!"

  111. This is SO selfish, SO infuriating, So wrong ! If you voted for Trump once: Hey, we all make mistakes. If you'll vote for him twice: When everything is for sale, so is your soul !

  112. The Germans are right to be worried, Trump has shown no compassion and I would suspect hold the world at ransom for the drugs.

  113. Sure...He will share with the world...for a price. This is Trump and the Republican Party we talking about now. Just like with the US military, DJT wonders, 'how can we turn a profit with this virus?!' Pax, jb

  114. During my travels overseas in recent years, I have spent a decent amount of time apologizing to the locals since my country saw fit to put such a sorry excuse for a human being into the Oval Office. I apologize once again after reading this story. Yes, I agree with those commenters who believe Trump is trying to buy the vaccine to protect himself and his own family at the expense of others. Nothing about the man should surprise us any more. If we, as Americans, put him back into office this fall, we condone such vile behavior.

  115. @LIChef --- The worst was Republican President George W. Bush, who invaded IRAQ that had zero to do with 9/11 attacks. My European relatives and friends were glad to hear that "HE" was not someone that I voted for or considered a good POTUS. We were all hopeful that Senator Bernie Sanders would become the next POTUS, because Hillary Clinton was known to be the Wall Street banksters' choice and is a known war hawk. Really there was not a good choice in the "lesser of two evils" category. Biden (at least) might be more progressive-persuadable in taking up economic and healthcare reform. Only time will tell. I hope that in my lifetime, I will see universal health care for our people. It would eliminate a lot of stress people face when they are at the mercy of global insurance corporations when they are sick or injured or trying to save the life of a child. It's really unbelievable the way the USA supports a form of Corporate Socialism via the huge amounts of money poured directly into our "two major political parties" and individual lawmaker's campaign chests.

  116. Trump at his best: unprepared, uninformed, complacent, greedy and totally selfish Deplorable,said Hillary? It’s now as never for all to see!

  117. Big Bully Trump tried to steal their sandwich. It’s what bullies do.

  118. @The Widster More like what a crime boss does. Or one used to industrial shenanigans.

  119. another mark of shame for the selfishness of this country's current administration

  120. I read about breakthroughs in several places around the world. A coalition of the University of Texas, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and the Ghent Center of medical biotechnology have already developed an antidote that can kill the virus under lab conditions. Buying and restricting the most advanced research would delay a solution to those excluded, but not for long.

  121. The company is likely to be subjected to cyberattacks to steal their research into the coronavirus. The United States and every other country with the capability will try to steal their research. If Russia gets hold of their research Putin will likely hold the world at ransom for the vaccine. It would not be a surprise if he furnished it exclusively to Russia and just let the rest of the world die. We could end up at war over this.

  122. @S Butler C’mon, Putin is a toxic dictator but it was the trump administration that attempted this gambit.

  123. @Paco varela I'm sure Trump wanted to buy the company in order to profit from the coronavirus pandemic, but Putin wants it to control the world.

  124. This should be a much bigger story. Americans should understand how their government, in an attempt to gain credit for success in fighting the virus and to force one of their lies to come true, have tried but failed to bully a foreign company into selling their work. No one could blame the world for assuming the US would then hoard the knowledge and vaccines that resulted. This will (and should!) cause the rest of the world to hate the US even more. At a time when we depend upon other countries for drug supplies, food, and even the makings of our beloved phones, a move like this could cause the US much harm. Thanks, Trump and cronies.

  125. @sandy They'd make the rest of the world py dearly for any vaccines and trump would use it to bully the other countries.

  126. @sandy Agreed. This is a pretty well tugged away report at the bottom of the fold's fold.

  127. What should have happened is Trump offering an investment of funds into the research with the idea this possible breakthrough would help the US and world. Instead, he wants to buy the company. But the man cannot be trusted. He breaks everything.

  128. @Dana This past week, he seems to be in pure panic, and is becoming not just incompetent but seriously dangerous. Eventually the coronavirus pandemic will end. The damage left behind by these ill-conceived moves he has made will last a lot longer.

  129. My impression is that the story is being exaggerated because, in addition to the investor Hopp, it offers a rare opportunity for representatives of the German government to present themselves as defenders of national German interests. It may sound strange to Americans, but as a geographically and economically central region of Europe, this is hardly possible for German politicians on other occasions. It is also striking that the story was launched almost exclusively by a newspaper that stands for crystal-clear transatlantic alliance loyalty like hardly any other German medium. It seems to me that the person who spread the information about Trump's alleged plans wanted to do two things at once: divulge the information, but entrust its distribution to a strongly US-friendly medium. Perhaps more worrying for American readers is that a takeover bid from the Chinese side might have attracted much less protest. Mr Xi is much less unpopular in Germany than Mr Trump. Ceterum censeo: I wish there were more employees in the US federal administration with the backbone of a Frances Oldham Kelsey, CM.

  130. @Marat You make a lot of claims, like "Perhaps more worrying for American readers is that a takeover bid from the Chinese side might have attracted much less protest. Mr Xi is much less unpopular in Germany than Mr Trump." But you don't provide and backup for them.

  131. @Marat My guess is that Trump made the "billion dollar" offer in an off-the-cuff way, sort of like when he suggested the US should buy Greenland. For others reading this reply, the 80% owner of CureVac, Dietmar Hopp, will not make a deal like this and has said that treatments and cures should benefit all.

  132. Follow the money. Where is Daniel Menichella?

  133. But isn’t this what a capitalist ideology would suggest? Buying, or ‘deal making’ is the current administration’s tool of choice, whether it is propping up favoured industries like oil or coal, border control, coercing poorer countries, selling tons of unnecessary weapons, why would this pandemic be handled any differently? And why put someone with at least a scientific background in charge, rather than puppet Pence?

  134. Well if Trump thought trying to buy Greenland was a reasonable idea then why should we be surprised by this?

  135. This demonstrates how the Trump GOP plutocrats think and act. If there is progress being made in another research facility, elsewhere in the world, do you seek to cooperate and share results or strong arm them into selling out with big money? In Trump world, everything can be bought and sold. Get what you want via a monetary transaction; no consideration given to any other approach. Has this helped or hindered the ongoing work to develop an efficacious vaccine? Another wrench in the works via Trump misfeasance and malfeasance.

  136. Trump only sees things in terms of money. He thinks if he just waves enough money at it, it's his for the taking. Sadly it's worked for him in the past and he can't see beyond his own dysfunctional experiences to understand the inherent wrongness in what he does.

  137. @Sam Let's bear in mind that he throws the promise of money around. Whether or not he actually delivers on that promise is another thing. His word often means little in (the art of) the deal.

  138. Let's flip this around a little. What if the German government were in possession of a vaccine and declined to share it with anyone? How would Trump react? How would the rest of the world react? Now if the US were in possession of the vaccine and declined to share it, how do you think our (now former) friends and adversaries would react? The fact that "only for the United States" was even contemplated or mentioned is seriously concerning. America is unable to stand alone, but it does thrive when it strives to lead and benefit the globe as a whole.

  139. Wonderful:  Seventry five years ago we rebuilt Germany after WWII and now we are willing to pay enormous sums to a German research firm for their research work on the Coronavirus. This should remind the American people of the two things that have never happened in our history.  The first is the Coronavirus itself which has achieved nearly total isolation of our country with schools closed to 32 million kids, closing  bars and restaurants, ending all sports and cultural events.  The second thing that has never happened before is that our president and  vice president before it became obvious to millions that when the Coronavirus first appeared and our president and vice present proclaimed it irrelevant, it marked the first time in our history that the two  men elected to lead our country became irrelevant themselves. It is the one thing the president has feared all his life, namely, that he would become irrelevant. What man or woman during a great crisis and threat to the country would take the time to tweet about an opponent like Joe Biden nasty and unworthy comments.  Why did tney not come forward instantly and instead of pooh lpoohing this  crisis, ask the Admiral  in charge of public heath, the CDC and Dr.Fauci, and all the other interconnected health care entities to take over and save the U.S. The president and vice-presodent should remove themselves from this crisis before they muck it up further and turn it over completely to the professionals.

  140. "the drugs manufactured by Cuba, Interferon B, has managed to effectively cure more than 1,500 patients from the coronavirus and is one of 30 drugs chosen by the Chinese National Health Commission to combat respiratory disease." "He said the drug could also be exported to other countries to help contain the spread of the virus and treat those that are showing symptoms." There you have it...... Sad that the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba remains in place.....

  141. @Think bout it, the US has interferon B drugs too. They're not exclusive to Cuba.

  142. @NR and why they haven't use it????? If it has worked in China?

  143. Every nation has its own innate identity and roots of inheritance in STEM subjects. I can't expect the expertise of NASA on space science in Germany and in the same way I can't expect the unique edge of the glass products starting from a TV screen to the chemical plants having exothermic reactions made of the high coefficient of thermal expansion by the 135 year old SCHOTT at Mainz in Germany. Two days ago, I could read a company's colorful brochure boasting of its 'products shifting' by pneumatic transportation. It made me to think of my association with Dyno industrier,Drammen in Norway and their smooth & safe pneumatic transportation of highly hygroscopic chemical during my visit in 1975. As a leader of NATO, US couldn't have attempted to hijack the invention of Germany with its affluence.The world is proud of Albert Einstein neither by his American citizenship nor by his birth as a German but by his contribution to the world by his "theory of relativity". Above all, Chancellor Merkel is a scientist in "Quantum Chemistry" and her strength in physical chemistry could be a catalyst to give the necessary support to Cure Vac. The uncanny attempt by US to own the chicken before the hen hatches the egg has conspicuously caused a stain on its solidarity with its NATO member nation and "STEM POWER". Let Germany finds the vaccine and USA submits the root cause analysis of the origin of covid 19 in China.

  144. Question: Reporting on NPR described this interaction as the Trump Administration offering this German firm a billion dollars for "exclusive rights" to any vaccine they develop (and the German government is furious). That's pretty different. Which is it?

  145. Let's be honest: Trump did it but if democrats were at the White House they would have tried the same move. This is the US culture: everything is about moey and "we do it because we can". Trump is an easy scapegoat for your nation but you should face the reality which is that in your country more than any other western one, money is the greatest value and common good a fuzzy concept from the past. The US almost make European countries nice and virtuous in comparison (not an easy achievement though!)

  146. @Pedrito No. Obama recognized that we had allies and that basic collaboration is an important, normal, human, Christian thing. The immoral con man in the White House is so crooked, he is self-sabotaging.

  147. @mjw Obama talked a lot, which does not cost much. I cannot remember what he actually did to improve the transatlantic relationship as he was only interested by Asia, considering his "old european allies" as futureless nations. Well, the last ime we could have bilateral relationship with one US president, it was the last century with B. Clinton. He was a nice-looking crook but we could talk peer to peer. 20 years later Europe became a threat among others to the US. And from our side... Well, we are fed up with the US. The nation that liberated our grand parents has changed a lot...

  148. That’s a new low - but demonstrates quite well how incompetent the Trump administration actually is: they are unable to unify the vast research potential this country has to take the lead in fighting this virus pandemic. Americans were always at the forefront fighting the most bizarre and deadly diseases around the world - now this administration has diminished that stellar reputation so much that they have to rely on some shady moves to get some help to fight the virus impact. The total failure of the “America First” isolationism on full display!

  149. Trump and the GOP see the opportunity for huge profit. A Covid-19 vaccine in their complete control. So 'throw money at it' is another Trump administration response which fails to capture the humanity and reality of the situation. How many other companies are they trying to bribe? Another example of the 1% taking care of their own. The rich will stay healthy while the serfs suffer.

  150. While sadly unsurprising, this selfish move feels like the top-level equivalent of the people buying out toilet paper and hand sanitizer stocks to sell them back to those in need at marked-up prices. Who needs enemies when they are allied with a government as corrosive as that of the Trump era? All this at a time that will require solidarity above all else to navigate through - on both sides of the pond. I wish the company best of luck and hope this will become available to all patients eventually.

  151. No surprise from coming from unethical, self-aggrandizing opportunist and his flock. Kim. Trump. MBS. Nasser. On and on. Will roll in meadow grass with joy if live long enough to see America return to sanity, but am realist and even baby steps improvements will be desperately welcome.

  152. I think Trump is right--It's still women and children first and he's fighting for a place on all sides

  153. Where do the adults in the room go when Trump stops watching television and shows up for a meeting? Our national embarrassment continues.

  154. This looks like the kind of exercise of executive powers under emergency declarations Schumer was worried about.

  155. I billion dollars of the taxpayer’s money for exclusive rights. Who exactly will have the exclusive rights? Will the United States Prez be able to trade vaccine in return for the cooperation of foreign countries in undermining the US citizens who are running against him?

  156. The German trust in the Trump administration couldn't be lower. The German goverment same as the CureVac officals stated that a vaccine must be made available to all of the worlds population. At the moment it seems that China is more an allied to Europe then USA are. The times when Germany and USA where close and trusting partners seem so far away now.

  157. Shouldn't we be sharing research anyways? If you want this problem to be solved quickly, that's what should be happening.

  158. The level of malice and incompetence of this administration exceeds imagination. Germany, our trusted ally, is now treating us as potential enemies, and for good reason. Trump has effectively broken NATO with the support of the GOP. Both, the president and his contemptible party should be eliminated from politics

  159. Another reason for our allies to turn their backs on us! Not good. Nothing to be proud of.

  160. When the world is experiencing a pandemic, attempting to secure exclusive access to a vaccine is essentially an act of war.

  161. Why do we think the U.S doesn't have test kits? We could have been testing many more by now but instead the powers that be wanted to figure out how to make a profit first.

  162. All of this is hearsay and ridiculous , obviously the Trump administration would not say that the vaccine would be "only for the United States" as if somehow that would even be possible or would be tolerated by US citizens or allies , etc the rebellion in the US alone against such a concept would entirely overthrow any alleged effort to enforce it. This is exclusively anti Trump Europeans bolivating and of course most NYT commentators also take it seriously because it gives them yet another , false , justification for self righteous bravado. Though , note , an American ran CureVac and now that he spearheaded critical research and demonstrably aided the firm for two years they boot him apparently because he is an American.

  163. @paul m You said that "obviously the Trump administration would not say that the vaccine would be "only for the United States".... You may be right about the administration as a whole. But, Trump does things on his own (without anyone in his administration knowing what he is doing; a horrific habit he has that leads to incredible confusion for his fearful staff). The other point I'll make is clear to see: The words "only for the United States" is something Trump has said only a billion times. It's something he would say verbatim; adding to the validity of the story.

  164. @paul m Obviously? I don't know where you get that. Trump's relationships, both domestic and international, are purely and historically transactional. This is just another reflection of "America (aka Trump) first". Trump doesn't share. There is no "greater good" in his way of thinking. It would not surprise me if his intention is to turn this into a money maker, extracting huge sums from European governments for access to the resulting vaccine and that much later we learn of existing financial ties to Trump and the Kushner families.

  165. @paul m: Daniel Menichella was fired because of his behavior and the hidden dealings he tried to to with the Trump administration. By the way, the founder was his predeccessor as CEO until 2018 and is now his successor. So not an "American" spearheaded this company for a long time but the German founders and scientists. Anyway, the bottom line is the brazenness with which so-called "deal makers" focus on money and not on public health. You can call this "socialist", I call it normal human behavior in face of a global crisis such as COVID-19.

  166. First he turned down an offer of a test kit from the German government, then he tried wrest control of a vaccine from a German company and was put off. After three years of bullying NATO and the EU, thousands of Americans will die because he has no capacity for empathy and is incapable of working with anyone. I for one don’t believe he’d share that vaccine with anyone outside of Trumpworld. I can see it now: Ex-Trumpworld: We need the vaccine to save our families. Trump: I need a favor, though.

  167. Where does Trump plan to get his hands on the takeover (bribe) money? Is there an authorization? An appropriation?

  168. Indeed. Let's refrain from "making this political." He desires to claim he "cured" the pandemic. Who actually believes he has a billion dollars??

  169. @lake, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be his billion dollars. It would be our tax money.

  170. Instead of wasting money on Trump’s wall it should be shared among those labs working on promising vaccines regardless of where they are located.

  171. The rest of the world has no reason to trust trump and the United States. They'd be crazy to allow this to happen.

  172. I’m 65 and remember lining up in the auditorium in my NYC elementary school to be handed a sugar cube containing a life saving polio vaccine. Free to everyone, no questions asked. In today’s America, that would literally be unthinkable. The writing is on the wall...if an American firm is first to develop a treatment or vaccine, expect that the world, including us, by the way, will pay our pound of flesh and then some to be cured. Profit above everything is the American way. 3 weeks ago I didn’t think I could be any more disgusted by our government, but they keep proving me wrong.

  173. @SDT this was my first reaction to this story as well--Jonas Salk must be rolling in his grave.

  174. Whatever is actually true or false about this developing story, it does begin to illuminate a president increasingly concerned about reelection. My guess is any attempt like this was to offset his initial poor handling of the crisis. Isn't there a medical term for people who create a crisis just to solve it for their own ego/benefit?

  175. Now that the virus has entered Trumps reality, he knows for a fact that the US, under his administration, is the only country prepared to handle this emergency. The fact that he cares about moving the research to the US rather than just buying the IP when it's available suggests that it's a matter of national pride. Most people, and certainly the stock market and the national economy don't really care where the recipe for a mitigation or vaccine originally comes from.

  176. Clearly, Mr. Trump never learned from his parents the difference between "can" and "may". He "can" buy a vaccine company but he "may not" in the circumstances discussed here. The American executive became a human sacrifice even thought it appears he may have acted honorably, giving his investors readout of his White House meeting. The fact he is gone prompts questions: 1) Did the White House offer him a bribe of some sort if he could arrange the sale? 2) Did the White House want the U.S. government to buy the firm? Did it want the firm sold to private interests? Which ones? And did such private interests have ties to the President? The answers will tell us whether it was just a bad idea or something far worse.

  177. Who needs an enemy if you have an ally like the US? And no, don't tell me it's just Trump. He is your elected president.

  178. @Urs But you need to remember that the American people actually elected Hillary Clinton. It's the Electoral College that appointed trump President. So please don't paint all of us with the trump brush.

  179. Look on the bright side. If Trump spent over a minute thinking about this it would be a new personal best for him.

  180. Among the things I found interesting about this is that funding for CureVac comes from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. A foundation that is supported by several European governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Foundation (UK). I could find no other US linked funding. How ironic that a company funded in part by these sources was, if proven accurate, muscled by our president to give us exclusive rights to their product! BTW companies, mobsters, powerful people, etc. do not actually ask they signal. This is why collusion is so hard to prove in any area. If our country continues to destroy worldwide trust and relationships there may come a time when our allies (if any are left) cannot support us as their citizens would rise up in revolt.

  181. This is immoral, un-Christian and damaging to our relations with the rest of the world. How can those that claim to be strict of followers of Christ still support this evil man?

  182. "Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine." That sounds entirely consistent with everything we know about Trump. He is worse than those goobers in Tennessee who were gouging for hand sanitizer. This guy has no morals.

  183. Trump just embarrassed us again. He is solely invested in being the “savior” of us all. He buys a vaccine and trumpets his accomplishment far and wide! What a guy. The Germans wisely blew him off. Slimey trick President Grifter.

  184. Here's even more irony for us all (from Yahoo News): "The co-founder of Chinese online marketplace Alibaba (BABA) has sent a shipment of surgical masks and coronavirus test kits to the United States. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma posted two pictures of pallets of the supplies being loaded on to a China Eastern Airlines jet in Shanghai. Ma, who is Asia's richest person, pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to America earlier this month. The tweet read: “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America.”

  185. I live just a couple of meters from CureVac. Now I am proud of its Tuebinger co-owners for rejecting this unsurpassably immoral US offer. How sick must the president of my native country be for such propositioning? And how tolerant my German friends are in sharing my anguish. Jack Lohrmann

  186. Is anyone surprised? There are no morals or ethics in the White House.