Germany’s foreign minister said Monday the rights to coronavirus vaccine research were not for sale, following reports Donald Trump wanted the US to buy exclusive access to a potential vaccine developed by a German biotech firm.

The comments, made in an interview to media group Funke, come as scientists raced to develop a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus that has killed some 6,000 people, seen millions placed under lockdown and devastated global markets.

“German researchers play a leading role in drug and vaccine development and we cannot allow others to seek exclusive results,” Heiko Maas told Funke.

Citing sources close to the German government, Die Welt newspaper had previously reported that Trump had offered “a billion dollars” to secure research into a vaccine by German biotech firm CureVac “only for the United States”.

“Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday, reacting to the report.

At a news conference, interior minister Horst Seehofer was asked to confirm the attempts to court the German company.

“I can only say that I have heard several times today from government officials today that this is the case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow,” he said.

CureVac said in a statement Sunday that it “abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology”.

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