UPDATED: Germany says vaccine rollout on track despite CureVac trial flop

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A failure of German biotech CureVac to meet its efficacy goal in a late-stage trial for its COVID-19 vaccine will not impact the speed of Germany’s vaccination rollout, the health ministry said on Thursday.

“The announcement does not have an impact on the speed of our vaccination rollout,” a health ministry spokesperson said, declining to comment on the study results.

CureVac said on Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine was only 47% effective in a late-stage trial, missing the study’s main goal and throwing in doubt the potential delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to the European Union.

The disappointing efficacy of the shot known as CVnCoV emerged from an interim analysis based on 134 Covid-19 cases in the study with about 40,000 volunteers in Europe and Latin America.

The stakes for CureVac and prospective buyers of its vaccine in Europe had risen after age limits were imposed on the use of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines due to a link to extremely rare but potentially fatal clotting disorders.

CureVac’s shot was also expected to help in low and middle-income countries that have lagged far behind richer nations in the global immunisation drive.

As CureVac’s only major supply deals, the European Union in November secured up to 405 million doses of the vaccine, of which 180 million are optional. That was followed by a memorandum of understanding with Germany for another 20 million doses.

CureVac’s US traded shares fell 50.6% to $46.81 in after-hours trading following publication of the data.

Photo: A view of a logo of biopharmaceutical company CureVac at the main building in Tuebingen, Germany. EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

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