Hated Hoffenheim owner developing coronavirus vaccine

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Dietmar Hopp attends the Bundesliga match between 1899 Hoffenheim and Hertha BSC at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena on April 16, 2016 in Sinsheim, Germany
Photo: Simon Hofmann/BONGARTS

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp - a hate figure among German football fans - is involved in the production of a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.

The German billionaire is also the main investor in biopharmaceutical company CureVac, which is reportedly making good progress in the development of a remedy against the coronavirus.

The Tübingen-based company, founded in 2000, markets itself as specialising in "development of treatments against cancer, antibody-based therapies, treatment of rare illnesses and prophylactic vaccines".

The lab is working in tandem with the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, linked to the German health ministry.

Florian von der Muelbe, CureVac's chief production officer and co-founder, told Reuters last week the company had started with a multitude of coronavirus vaccine candidates and was now selecting the two best to go into clinical trials.

And Hopp believes that a breakthrough could be made in the next six to seven months.

When asked how long it will be before a vaccine is released to the public, the 79-year-old businessman told Sport1:

That depends on the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute.

It has to be tested first with animals and then with human beings. But I think it could be available in autumn at the time when possibly the next wave of infections will come.

The potential for a vaccine has already begun to cause controversy, though, with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag claiming US president Donald Trump is keen to secure the vaccine "only for the United States".

Hopp, however, insists that the vaccine will not be privatised.

If we succeed soon to develop an effective vaccine against the coronavirus then this vaccine should reach, protect and help people all over the world and not only in one region.

Hopp earned the hatred of all German football fans, who see him as having bought his club's way to success after sidestepping rules on supporter ownership.

Hoffenheim's recent home fixture against Bayern Munich was called to a halt on two occasions as staff removed offensive banners taking aim at Hopp.

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