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Tesla is building “RNA micro-factories” for CureVac, a pharmaceutical company working on the COVID-19 vaccine. The news comes from Elon Musk himself, who has stressed that it is a parallel project of his company.
This is not an exclusive activity, as Tesla is willing to do the same with other experiences in this field. Elon Musk highlighted the great potential that synthetic RNA can have. The CEO of Tesla has always held contradictory positions on the pandemic, and therefore the announcement of this project, which basically takes Tesla into the field of biotechnology, is very surprising. In reality, however, the agreement between these two companies is not recent.
The collaboration between the American brand and the pharmaceutical company, in fact, is older than one might imagine and would have started before the outbreak of the pandemic. Electrek found a joint patent filed in June 2019 that describes an automated system for RNA production. You can read how current RNA molecule production processes require a lot of work and different equipment. The solution devised by Tesla / CureVac would solve these problems, allowing the acceleration of RNA production that would be important, especially in pandemic scenarios.
Production is being handled by Grohmann Engineering, a German company that was acquired by Tesla in 2016 and had already been active in the medical sector in the past. CureVac is a German-based company in which the German government has recently invested 300 million euros. In mid-June, the green light was given to begin clinical trials of the vaccine in volunteer candidates.