CureVac's experimental coronavirus vaccine

(Reuters) - Unlisted biotech company CureVac is the second company after rival BioNTech to begin trials with an experimental human coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Wednesday to consider a possible regulatory approval in mid-2021.
The first meaningful results of the study with 168 participants could be available in September or October, said acting CEO of CureVac, Franz-Werner Haas, said in an online press conference.
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A larger phase II study with 15,000 to 20,000 volunteers could start in September or October, provided the first phase I measurements are promising. The approval could be due in the middle of next year, the company said.
The vaccine is based on messenger RNA genetic material injected into the body to direct human cells to produce a harmless protein that is normally found on the surface of the new coronavirus.
The immune system sees a foreign intruder in the protein and prepares an arsenal that can be directed against the real enemy in the event of a coronavirus infection.
Other developers of messenger RNA (mRNA) are BioNTech, Moderna and Translate Bio.
CureVac has licensed manufacturing facilities in Germany with a capacity to produce one hundred million cans and is currently building a new location that could increase its production tenfold to billions.
It also develops portable, automated mRNA production units, which it calls printers. They are said to be delivered to remote locations where they can produce the vaccine, as well as other mRNA-based therapies, depending on which prescription is fed into the machine.
CureVac said in a press conference on Wednesday that a similar rabies-developed vaccine can be stored for a year and the new vaccine would likely have the same properties. Storage at room temperature is a likely option, the group added.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Mark Potter)

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