The vaccination campaign is underway, the incidence is falling - will the coronavirus soon be defeated? No, agree Health Minister Jens Spahn and Research Minister Anja Karliczek, both CDU. That's why their ministries have jointly launched another funding program to help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs to combat Covid-19. 300 million euros are available for this purpose, as Karliczek announced in Berlin on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, we have to expect that even with a high vaccination rate, people will continue to fall ill with Covid-19," the minister told the federal press conference, where she joined Spahn and Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wieler to provide information on the Corona situation.
Karliczek expressed the hope of bringing effective and safe drugs against Covid-19 to the market and to the sick as quickly as possible. The development of such drugs is "extremely cost-intensive," she said. Smaller companies in particular would not be able to bear them alone. Spahn added: "We want to support small and medium-sized biotech companies in particular in the development of new Corona drugs."Vaccination takes the horror out of the pandemic, effective therapies out of the disease."
The new funding program is primarily intended to bring drugs that have already been successfully tested in clinical phases I and II on their way to patients. Production is also to be established and expanded at sites in Germany. At the same time, Karliczek dampened hopes of a "miracle pill" against the virus. There will be no such thing. The goal, she said, is to have various effective drugs that can be used depending on the phase and course of the disease. There are already promising approaches.
Spahn and Wieler stressed that the danger of contracting the virus has not yet been eliminated for most people in Germany. "Either you get vaccinated or you get infected. I would always recommend getting immunity through vaccination," Spahn said. Wieler predicted the virus will infect everyone who is unvaccinated in the long term.
Spahn, referring to the current development of the pandemic in Germany, said, "Everything is going in the right direction." Wieler also expressed satisfaction. He said the incidence of new infections is currently falling in all German states and all age groups. The number of vaccinated people is rising, he said. If Germans continue to "all play along," remaining sensible and disciplined, he said, he does not fear a new wave. Wieler again called for patience and appealed to the public not to get the second vaccination with AstraZeneca more quickly just to be able to go to the beer garden sooner. Effective vaccination protection is more important.
Image by Wilfried Pohnke