Coronavirus vaccine creators are married couple who even fit in lab work on wedding day

The married couple behind the world’s first dedicated coronavirus vaccine are so dedicated they fit in some lab work on their wedding day.

Their jab has bankrolled by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer but has been developed by BioNTech, a German firm founded by physicians Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci.

They are being hailed as the brains behind the potentially transformative vaccine, which studies suggest is 90% effective.

Professor Sahin, 55, and Dr Tureci, 53, are now among the 100 richest Germans, with the value of their company soaring to £16billion in the wake of the vaccine breakthrough.

Professor Sahin was born in the Turkish city of Iskenderun, moving to then West Germany when he was four years old.



Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci
Physicians Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci are behind the Pfizer vaccine for coronavirus

Dr Tureci was born in Germany and is the daughter of a Turkish physician who migrated to the country from Istanbul.

She once said in an interview that even on the day of their wedding, they both made time for lab work.

They formed their first company Ganymed Pharmaceuticals which they set up in 2001. The company set out to research the possibility of using modified genetic code, or Messenger RNA (mRNA), to trick the body into fighting cancer and develop cancer-fighting antibodies.



Coronavirus vaccine
The Pfizer vaccine proved to be 90% effective in studies
(Image: REUTERS)

The pair set up BioNTech in 2008 and the couple’s work on the potential of mRNA is said to have been crucial in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.

Also Check:  Girl, 11, suffers 'horrifying' illness with 'blood coming from eyes every day'

Their firm began work on developing a vaccine back in January after Professor Sahin came across a paper on the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Matthias Theobald, a professor at Mainz University where Professor Sahin still teaches, said: “He is a very modest and humble person. Appearances mean little to him.



Ugur Sahin
Professor Sahin moved to Germany from Turkey when he was four years old
(Image: BioNTech)

“But he wants to create the structures that allow him to realise his visions and that’s where is aspirations are far from modest.”

Matthias Kromayer, a board member of venture capital firm MIG AG, whose funds have backed BioNTech, added: “Despite his achievements, he never changed from being incredibly humble and personable.”

The NHS is ready to start providing the new vaccine “as soon as safely possible,” according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He said he expected the mass roll-out “in the first part of next year”.

Matt Hancock said: “I have tasked the NHS with being ready from any date from December 1.”

He added that “we just don’t know” how many people will need to be vaccinated before life can return to normal.

There are around 12 Covid-19 vaccines thought to be in the final stages of testing.