Germany is innovating and will also pay a tidy sum.
The country will become the first in the European Union to use the experimental antibody-based treatment administered to Donald Trump against Covid-19, Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Sunday.
"The government bought 200,000 doses for 400 million euros", he told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, which represents 2000 euros per dose.
This cocktail of “monoclonal” antibodies will be used in university hospitals next week, said the minister, stressing that Germany was “the first country in the EU” to use it in the fight against the pandemic.
Jens Spahn did not quote the name of the manufacturer who would supply the drug, but confirmed that it was the same treatment as that given to Donald Trump in early October.
The latter, then President of the United States, had contracted the coronavirus and was briefly hospitalized.
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These synthetic antibodies "work like a passive vaccination", explained the German minister.
"Administering these antibodies during the initial stages of infection can help high-risk patients avoid a more serious course."
They mimic what the immune system does after infection with the coronavirus by blocking the tip of the virus that allows it to attach to and penetrate human cells.
Regeneron, Eli Lilly ...
Donald Trump had received the treatment developed by the American laboratory Regeneron, a combination of two antibodies known as REGN-COV2, even before it was authorized at the end of November by the American Medicines Agency (FDA).
The ex-president praised this treatment, saying that he had "cured" it.
The American company Eli Lilly has developed a similar treatment, authorized as of November 9.
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Germany's order comes amid growing criticism in the EU about the slow pace of vaccination campaigns.
Vaccine makers Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca both announced smaller than expected deliveries in the near term to Europe due to production difficulties.
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The German government has indicated that it still plans to be able to offer the vaccine to all Germans by the end of August.