Married professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci developed science of ‘promising’ Pfizer vaccine

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  • November 10, 2020
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E

xperts around the world have welcomed the “promising news” of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine which has been found to be more than 90 per cent effective at preventing the disease.

Downing Street welcomed the results as “promising” and said the UK will have procured 10 million doses by the end of the year to be given out if it is approved.

While the Covid-19 treatment was funded by the American pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, the science was primarily developed by BioNTech. The German company was founded by Özlem Türeci, 53, and Ugur Sahin, 55. 

The married physicians are passionate about research and oncology. Dr Tureci once said in an interview that even on the day of their wedding, they both made time for lab work.

Their first company, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals founded in 2001, explored whether modified genetic code, or Messenger RNA (mRNA), could be used to trick the body into fighting cancer.

Chief executive officer Mr Sahin and Chief Medical Officer Dr Türeci are so dedicated to their work that according to a previous interview, the pair still made time for their lab work on their wedding day.

coronavirus vaccine.

How does the Oxford vaccine differ to Pfizer’s?

“The first interim analysis of our global Phase 3 study provides evidence that a vaccine may effectively prevent Covid-19. This is a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort,” said Prof Sahin. 

“When we embarked on this journey 10 months ago this is what we aspired to achieve. Especially today, while we are all in the midst of a second wave and many of us in lockdown, we appreciate even more how important this milestone is on our path towards ending this pandemic and for all of us to regain a sense of normality. 

“We will continue to collect further data as the trial continues to enroll for a final analysis planned when a total of 164 confirmed Covid-19 cases have accrued. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to make this important achievement possible.”

Matthias Theobald, a fellow oncology professor at Mainz University, where Professor Sahin still teaches, told Sky News the professor is a “very modest and humble person”.