If Donald Trump is trying to make himself out to be some sort of comic book-style supervillain, he took a giant leap toward that title in the past few days, attempting to lure a German company away from their home country, where they have been working on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, to relocate in the United States.
Not only is there no good reason to do such a thing — any country that develops a vaccine would, of course, make it available to the rest of the world in the understanding that we are all in this together, and as long as the virus exists anywhere, it exists everywhere.
Apparently Donald’s vision of America isn’t quite so brotherly, however.
His offer to the company CureVac was contingent on having “exclusive rights” to the vaccine for the United States.
On Sunday, Germany’s Health Ministry confirmed a report that appeared in Welt am Sonntag, one of the nation’s most widely-circulated weekend editions, in which an unnamed German government source said that Trump was trying to offer cash in order to secure the company’s vaccine exclusively and would do “anything” to get the vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States.”
A Health Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters, “We confirm the report in the Welt am Sonntag.”
But the German government isn’t taking Trump’s effort to poach away their top scientists lying down:
The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe. In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac.”
It is a sad state of affairs when a nation’s own government has to compete with counter-offers for one of their own companies to stay in their country, due to efforts by a foreign nation to steal them away in order to get exclusive rights to medicine that should be open source and free to the world.
Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and a senior lawmaker in the Social Democrats, Angela Merkel’s government coalition, tweeted in response early Sunday morning:
The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the USA must be prevented by all means. Capitalism has limits. We also cannot continue to depend on pharmaceuticals from China and the USA. Our research policy needs a reversal.”
Der exklusive Verkauf eines eventuellen Impfstoffes an die USA muss mit allen Mitteln verhindert werden. Der Kapitalismus hat Grenzen. Wir dürfen auch nicht weiter, bei Arzneimitteln von China und USA abhängen. Unsere Forschungspolitik braucht eine Umkehr https://t.co/NgKVpVWPO8
— Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) March 15, 2020
There was, of course, no comment available from the United States after the Reuters confirmation of the report.
Featured image via screen capture
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