- Scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci of BioNTech are getting the spotlight for formulating the first-ever effective COVID-19 vaccine.
- They forged a partnership with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to ramp up production.
- They are seeking emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Once approved, they intend to produce up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci of BioNTech are sending a powerful message of hope by creating the world’s first effective coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine after forging a partnership with the US pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer.
The Turkish-German couple made groundbreaking research in the field of modified genetic code. They spent years personalizing immunotherapy treatments for cancer. After dedicating their lives to pioneering research in oncology and infectious diseases, they created a COVID-19 vaccine along with Pfizer.
“I think the good message for mankind is that we now understand that COVID-19 infections can be indeed prevented by a vaccine,” Sahin said.
The Turkish-German founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin.
On the other hand, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called it “the greatest medical advance” in the last 100 years.
The vaccine which uses the genetic material, mRNA, tricks cells into producing bits of protein that look like the virus. In theory, these bits will improve the immune system as it learns to recognize them before the actual infection. This new COVID-19 vaccine, according to Pfizer, proved to be over 90% effective in preventing the spread of infection among volunteers. However, this “is not the only vaccine” being developed by BioNTech and Pfizer as there are other ongoing Phase 3 vaccine trials.
BioNTech’s chief medical officer, Ozlem Tureci, the daughter of a Turkish physician, works to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.
This “small step” from anti-cancer mRNA drugs to mRNA-based viral vaccines is the couple’s way “to provide something for society” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Both belong to Germany’s 100 richest people, but they stayed grounded by their charitable ethos and longstanding commitment to academia and science despite being in the global spotlight.
Sahin also said that by cooperating with Pfizer, BioNTech intends to increase the production of their vaccine candidate by up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021 after it receives the emergency authorization they are seeking from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Learn more about the new vaccine here:
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