Dr. Uğur Şahin said that is sure that the coronavirus vaccine that he developed together with his wife Dr. Özlem Türeci will end the pandemic.
“If the question is whether or not we can stop the pandemic with this vaccine, then my answer is yes because ensuring protection from even symptomatic infections will have a major impact,” Şahin said.
The vaccine was co-developed by Şahin and Türeci's German company BioNTech alongside American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The couple made headlines worldwide when news broke on Nov. 9 that trials of their vaccine have achieved a 90 percent success rate.
“It prevents Covid-19 from entering our cells. But even if the virus has somehow entered, then it strikes the head of the virus and eliminates it. We have trained the immune system to carry out these two defensive actions very well. We now know that the virus cannot defend itself against these mechanisms,” Şahin said.
Şahin and Türeci both come from Turkish families who immigrated to Germany in the 1960s and said that they celebrated the good news by brewing Turkish tea together. Despite their company being valued at nearly $30 billion, Şahin and Türeci are known for their modest lifestyle, as Şahin still rides his bike to work.
Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called the couple to congratulate them for their success.