Germany contributes in race to develop COVID vaccine

The number of projects to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus continues to grow. Germany is playing a substantial role in the effort, with the German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies, the vfa, reporting at least seven programs ongoing. The country is also cooperating in a number of projects abroad.

vaccines; fotolia/Peter Atkins
© fotolia/Peter Atkins

Vfa figures indicate more than 148 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine programs were underway around the world on June 4. In Germany, the Mainz-based company BioNTech began its phase 1/2 trial of its candidate vaccine BNT 162 at the beginning of May, to become one of ten products now in clinicals globally. CureVac, of Tübingen, meanwhile says it is expecting to begin 1/2a clinicals for its vaccine this month. Another Tübingen-based company, PRiME Vector Technologies, is cooperating with the University of Tübingen to develop a polyvalent vaccine candidate.

Furthermore, LeukoCare of Planegg is working with ReiThera of Italy and another German company, Univercell, as part of a pan-European consortium on a single-dose adenovirus-based vaccine. ARTES Biotechnology in Langenfeld, and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) in Braunschweig, which is running two different programs with partners in Munich, Marburg, and Hamburg, are also working on potential products. Beyond that, the pharmaceuticals giants, Bayer and Merck have announced they are supporting vaccine production, including one currently being tested by Oxford University in Britain.

German individual and cooperative projects are also listed in the World Health Organization’s “Draft landscape of COVID-19 vaccines” dated June 2. Here, the country appears as one of the more active European countries in development work, with the US as a global leader.

Media analysts describe the effort as “the new pandemic paradigm, focused on speed and fraught with risks.” The innovative strength of Germany’s medical biotechnology sector, including its patenting record, research landscape, as well as ready government support leave the country well-positioned to face these challenges. Figures demonstrating this are presented in HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY’s Medical Biotechnology Industry Profile and the video MEDICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY MADE IN GERMANY.