BERLIN (AP) – A scientist who won the race to supply the first widely used coronavirus vaccine says people can be sure the shots are safe, and the underlying technology will soon be used to fight another global cancer disaster.
Ozlem Tureci, who co-founded the German company BioNTech with her husband Ugur ինիahin, was working on the body’s immune system to fight cancerous tumors when they learned of an unknown virus infection in China last year.
At breakfast, the couple decided to use the technology they had been researching for two decades for a new threat.
Britain approved the BioNTech mRNA vaccine in December, followed by the United States a week later. Dozens of other countries have followed suit, with tens of millions of people around the world receiving footage from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
“Making bold decisions, the confidence that if you have an extraordinary team, you will be able to solve any problem, an obstacle that you will find in real time,” Tureci said in an interview with The Associated Press.
One of the biggest challenges for a small, Mainz-based company was how to conduct large-scale clinical trials in different regions and how to increase production to meet global demand.
The company, along with Pfizer, asked Fosun Pharma in China for help in “gaining assets, capabilities and geographical traces on the ship that we did not have,” said Turetsi.
He and his colleagues learned from the lessons. “How important is cooperation և cooperation at the international level?”
Tureci, who was born in Germany to a family of Turkish immigrants, said the company had appealed to medical authorities from the outset to ensure that the new vaccine was strictly tested by regulators.
“The process of getting permission to get a medicine or vaccine is a process where a lot of questions are asked, a lot of experts are involved, all the data is done, the external evaluation of the scientific discourse is done,” he said.
This week, amid fears in Europe over a coronavirus developed by the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, Tureci rejected the idea that racers cut corners to create a vaccine.
“There is a very tough process, the process does not stop after the vaccine is approved,” he said. “In fact, it continues around the world, where regulators have used reporting systems to monitor and evaluate any observations made through us or other vaccines.”
Tureci և his colleagues all got shot by BioNTech. “Yes, we are vaccinated.”
As BioNTech’s passport grew during the epidemic, so did its value, adding much-needed resources that the company could use to develop its original goal of developing a new cancer tool.
Made by BioNTech-Pfizer Modern US competitor Moderna, the vaccine uses messenger RNA or mRNA to make instructions for the human body to carry proteins that prepare for a particular virus. The same principle can be applied to tumors of the immune system.
“We have several different cancer vaccines based on mRNA,” Turecin said.
Asked when such therapy could be available, Turechi said: “It’s very difficult to predict in innovative development. “But we expect that in just a few years we will have our vaccines (against) cancer where we can offer them to people.”
For now, Tureci և Sahin is trying to ensure that vaccines ordered by governments are delivered so that personnel can respond effectively to any new mutations in the virus.
On Friday, the couple took time off from their schedule to receive Germany’s highest award, the Order of Honor, from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made by a scientist, will take part in the ceremony.
“It’s really an honor,” said Torres at the awards ceremony. “And my husband, I’m excited.”
But he insisted that vaccine development was the work of many.
“We are talking about the efforts of many, our BioNTech team, all partners involved, as well as governments and regulators, who have worked together with a sense of urgency,” he said. “As we can see, this recognizes these efforts as a science holiday.”