Who's behind Pfizer's groundbreaking Covid-19 vaccine?

Meet the humble German Turkish couple that have risen to stardom in just days after the announcement of the groundbreaking results.



While the rest of the world has been swept with optimism over the past few days, little is know about the modest due that have given the globe much-needed optimism that we might soon see the end to an unprecedented public health crisis that has redefined life as we have known it. Prof Ugur Sahin and his wife Dr. Özlem Türeci are the brains behind BioNTech, the German biotech that has collaborated with Pfizer to develop a promising messenger RNA candidate expected to be the first to rid the world of the coronavirus.


Devoted to harnessing the immune system against cancer, the married couple's mRNA technology caught the attention of the pharma giant Pfizer and China's Fosun Pharma back in March, as the world accepted the virus was not going away anytime soon. With backing from the global giants, the couple's technology was thrust to the front of the closely-watched Covid-19 vaccine race. The partnership culminated in Pfizer's announcement earlier in the week that the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate offered 90% protection against the virus.


After getting the life-changing call from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Sunday evening, in which Bourla delivered the outstanding preliminary results from the vaccine's Phase III trial, the understated couple, reported to not own a car, celebrated with cups of Turkish tea at home - partially because Germany is under lockdown. Testament to their commitment to solving the world's problems, the couple are said to have taken off the morning on their wedding day back in 2002 before returning to the lab to continue their work.