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CureVac doesn't rule out accelerated approval for COVID-19 vaccine

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FRANKFURT, Aug 16 (Reuters) - German biotechnology firm CureVac does not rule out a speedy approval process for its prospective vaccine against COVID-19, its chief executive was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The company said on Friday that it expects to put its vaccine on the market by mid-2021. Obtaining speedy approval suggests the company is pushing for an earlier release date although CEO Franz-Werner Haas did not give any details on how likely this was.

"We are not ruling out accelerated approval, but this can only be achieved in close cooperation with the authorities," Haas told the Boerse Online financial website.

CureVac, backed by Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates, listed on the Nasdaq stock market on Friday, raising $213 million.

The results of the recently started clinical trials of the company's prospective vaccine are to be published in autumn, Haas said, reiterating that at the moment approval was expected in the first half of next year.

CureVac is researching how to use molecules carrying a specific genetic code called messenger RNA (mRNA) to treat a series of diseases, including COVID-19.

By using messenger RNA, researchers hope they can compel a patient's own body to create proteins that can play an important role in combating disease.

"We see a deeper and broader understanding in the United States that the mRNA technology we use has the potential to quickly develop an effective and efficient vaccine," Haas said. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Susan Fenton)