Coronavirus vaccine study reportedly stalled for lack of cash

Federal authorities have not replied to a request for vaccine study funding, says a report. Keystone / Pool

Six Swiss hospitals are ready for a first big Covid-19 vaccine study but it can’t start for lack of money, writes a Sunday newspaper.

This content was published on August 2, 2020 - 18:53
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There is a shortfall of CHF8 million, according to the NZZ am Sonntag. An application for partial funding of the project was submitted to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) four weeks ago, but the request has so far gone unanswered, it says. "There are no plans at present to finance studies on a Covid-19 vaccine," the FOPH told the paper.

NZZ am Sonntag says Switzerland’s federal government is also behind in other areas related to the vaccine. While several countries, including the EU and US, have already reserved large quantities of the future vaccines for their populations, Switzerland has not yet concluded any contracts with companies developing them, it writes.

Expert coronavirus warning

Meanwhile Martin Ackermann, new head of the federal government’s Covid-19 working group, warns in the SonntagsZeitung that Switzerland is on the verge of an exponential increase in the number of new coronavirus infections.

He tells the Sunday paper there is little room to relax current restrictive measures to fight the virus and they should even be stepped up. "In my opinion, the size of public events permitted should now be reduced to 100 participants," says Ackermann, a microbiology expert at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ).

Since June 22, public and private events of up to 1,000 people have been permitted in Switzerland on condition that contact tracing is guaranteed. Larger events are still banned. The recommended safe distance between people was reduced from two metres to 1.5 metres. Some cantons, including Basel and Ticino, have introduced stricter restrictions on gatherings than in the rest of the country.


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