After a rather bumpy start, it looks like the German company CureVac might actually soon bring its COVID-19 vaccine to market.
And despite initial difficulties, the vaccine CVnCoV actually promises some advantages over the other vaccines already available.
An bumpy road early on
In early 2020, CureVac was initially considered the favourite in the race to develop the first Corona vaccine. It was even rumoured that Donald Trump wanted to buy out the company for the USA.
But then the vaccine manufacturer suffered some setbacks. First, during a critical development phase, Ingmar Hoerr, the new head of the company, fell into a coma due to brain haemorrhages.
This caused considerable delays, which were exacerbated by an export ban on important production goods from the United States.
Delays that turned to actually be beneficial
Now, however, it appears that CureVac may have actually benefited from the late start. It allowed the company to take its time in selecting the vaccines it wanted to use.
In addition, the research teams were able to conduct more thorough studies and further develop the vaccine. CVnCoV can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.
The BioNTech vaccine is only designed for one month. In 35,000 subjects in the phase III trial, it even shows good efficacy against new mutants, such as the South African variant.
Approval by the end of June
Despite the supply problems from the USA, CureVac will not have to scale back their planned production quantities thanks to recent collaborations with companies like Bayer.
The plan is to produce a total of 300 million vaccine doses, of which the German government has already pre-ordered 24.5 million doses.
CureVac also partnered with British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to help with the finalisation of its development process.
Now the vaccine is to be approved as soon as possible so that the German vaccination campaign can also be pushed ahead. The company expects approval by the end of June.