Experts all over the world are working to develop a vaccine against the lung disease COVID-19. There is hope that the EXIST research transfer project "Impfkraft" [vaccine power] being carried out at the University of Tübingen will develop a solution to the problem. The start-up team in Tübingen is working on a promising platform-based method for developing a vaccine against the coronavirus. A special feature of this method is a multi-vector approach, based on which it might also be possible to neutralise mutations of the coronavirus, thus leading to longer-lasting vaccine protection than that provided by other methods currently under discussion. In order to further speed up the development of the vaccine, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has increased the funding granted for the project.
Thomas Jarzombek, the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry’s Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Start-ups said: “The search for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus is a race against time. The faster we develop a vaccine, the more lives we can save. I can only say that the funding provided under the EXIST programme could not be used more effectively”.
In addition to funding this specific research project, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has put the necessary conditions in place to ensure that promising start-up projects do not run the risk of being cancelled due to the pandemic-related restrictions on businesses. Under the EXIST programmes, spin-off projects that have reached the end of their funding period and whose start-up businesses are being put at risk by the current distancing rules are eligible to be granted a three-month extension of the funding period without undue bureaucracy. Currently, all projects that are scheduled to end on 30 April 2020 and on 31 May 2020 are eligible to request an extension.
Thomas Jarzombek said: "We want to prevent promising start-up projects from running out of steam on the last stretch. This is why we are extending the funding period by three months and without undue bureaucracy. If this proves not long enough, we can also extend it again”.