German vaccine chaos: Rollout dealt another blow as ‘ingredients missing’

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Local media has reported Germany’s CureVac vaccine faces a shortage of crucial manufacturing materials due to the US’s current export restrictions. Biopharmaceutical company CureVac, which specialising in mRNA medicines that target pathogens such as COVID-19, is to publish results of their vaccine trial. However, export restrictions from the US on key vaccine materials are set to pose serious difficulties in ensuring the jab can be produced in appropriate quantities.

CureVac chief executive Franz-Werner Haas speaking to German newspaper Der Spiegel said: “Due to the Defense Production Act we are not getting certain goods out of the USA.”

The materials have been caught up in the US Defence Production Act, which first came into force during the Korean War in the 1950s but has been utilised during the coronavirus pandemic by former president Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden.

The Defense Production Act gives the US government the power to prioritise procurement orders and claim that they are necessary for national defence.

On January 21, 2021, President Biden used the US law to ensure vaccine ingredients and supply equipment went to Merck facilities needed to safely manufacture Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Speaking to Der Spiegel Mr Haas said: “We are not getting all the materials that we need.

“At times we live from hand to mouth.

“That makes it hard to build up a stockpile.”

According to Mr Haas a vaccine has around 90 elements in its construction.

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He stated that if only one component is missing no vaccine can be produced.

Mr Haas added is Biopharmaceutical company was short in supply of special plastic containers and nucleotides essential for manufacturing the vaccine.

Nucleotides are the basic building blocks of nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA.

These molecules are active ingredients in manufacturing messenger RNA vaccines.

CureVac has said it expects to file for European authorisation in late May or early June.

It said it plans to produce up to 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 and up to 1 billion in 2022.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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