Muslim couple behind the leading vaccine to solve Covid-19

Muslim couple behind the leading vaccine to solve Covid-19

AS we entered through the third waves of Covid-19, the world could breathe a sigh of relief at Monday’s news that the experimental vaccine developed by German biotech company BioNTech and US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has shown positive results.

The credit to develop it goes to a Muslim couple from Turkey, Physicians Ugur Sahin, and Oezlem Tuereci. The 55-year old physician and his 53-year old wife formed the “dream team” that gave the world a real hope for the Vaccine.

Born in Turkey, and raised to Germany,Dr. Sahin belongs to an immigrant family that woks in a Ford Factory. He then became a physician with a specialization in immunotherapy. His wife, Oezlem Tuereci, 53, is a board member of BioNTech, and also the daughter of a Turkish physician who also migrated to Germany.

They married in 2002, when Prof Sahin was working at the University Medical Centre Mainz. Even on their wedding day Prof Sahin spent some time in the lab, and today he continues to teach at the university.

BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer announced that their vaccine could prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, according to early results from Phase 3 trial towards 40,000 people.

In 2001, Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci founded Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, which developed drugs to treat cancer using monoclonal antibodies. After several years they founded BioNTech as well, looking to use a wider range of technologies, including messenger RNA, to treat cancer.

The company raised hundreds of millions of dollars and now has more than 1,800 people on staff,mostly scientist. It is said that BioNTech, the company owned by the couple is worth more than $21 Billion in German stock’s market. Hence, making them one of the richest in Germany.

The two billionaires are both humble and lead a modest life despite being among the 100 wealthiest people in Germany. They lived with their teenage daughter and still ride bicycles to work.

“Ugur is a very, very unique individual,” Mr. Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said in the interview last month. “He cares only about science. Discussing business is not his cup of tea. He doesn’t like it at all. He’s a scientist and a man of principles. I trust him 100 percent.”

Their contribution to the Covid-19 Vaccine is a remarkable event in the world’s history, giving hope to millions who suffer from the pandemic. – Malaysiapost

Photo Credit: The New York Times