Tesla CEO Elon Musk is headed to Germany this week to see the company’s Giga Berlin production plant. However, Musk has more on his agenda during his visit to Europe, including a visit to CureVac to talk about COVID-19 vaccines.
Musk stated on Twitter on August 30 that he would be heading to Germany to see Giga Berlin. However, he also will work on a potential Ribonucleic acid (RNA) factory with biopharmaceutical company CureVac. CureVac is based in Tübingen, a City in Southwestern Germany.
That & Giga Berlin are why I’m headed to Germany this week. Conversations with Harvard epidemiology confirmed that a high-speed RNA printer has potential be helpful for vaccines & cures in many areas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 30, 2020
Tesla and CureVac agreed to a partnership in July 2020 that would allow the two companies to create portable molecular RNA printers, which could help produce doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Musk referred to the partnership as a “side project,” and said that the “RNA microfactories” could become more widespread if Tesla could agree with other companies.
CureVac has talked about portable “printers” for mRNA-based vaccines in the past and received a $34 million grant from the Coalition for Emergency Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in February 2019. The grant was to be used to create vaccine candidates for Lassa fever, yellow fever, and rabies, Fiercepharma reported.
Musk has been lent a helpful hand during the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways. Not only did the CEO donate hundreds of ventilators to hospitals that required the devices, but Tesla also started developing its own breathing machines by using parts from its vehicles.
The ventilator has yet to be released, but it was expected to take some time due to strict regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who has to approve each device individually.
The delays in getting the Tesla ventilators approved hasn’t stopped Musk from thinking about how to attack the virus. COVID-19 has killed over 848,000 people, according to Worldometers.info. While Musk is checking on the progress of the Giga Berlin production plant in Northeast Germany, he will also work toward finding solutions to the virus.
Tesla’s production facility in Germany is currently being built and is expected to begin producing the company’s all-electric vehicles in July 2021. Tesla’s contracted construction crews have used pre-fabricated methods to increase the efficiency of the project, which has accelerated quickly throughout the past few months. While some of the facility’s core buildings, like the Drive Unit structure and Body in White buildings, are being erected quickly, other portions of the Giga Berlin plant are coming together as well.
Tesla has proven itself to be more than a car company for many years. Even though many people refer to the Silicon Valley-based tech entity as a “carmaker,” Tesla has shown itself to be much more than that. Although the cars are the most well-known product, Tesla’s Solar panels and energy solution products are also widely popular. However, the company has become more than a sustainable energy choice for consumers. With Musk traveling to Germany to talk about a possible RNA printer with CureVac, Tesla is working toward becoming a humanitarian company as much as anything else.