The married couple behind the new coronavirus vaccine are so dedicated to medical research that they are claimed to have spent their wedding day in the lab.
Ugur Sahin, 55, and his wife Oezlem Tuereci, 53, have been heralded a “dream team” after their company BioNTech helped develop the groundbreaking jab with pharmaceutical outfit Pfizer.
On Monday both companies revealed their vaccine is 90% effective in protecting against coronavirus.
The Government has secured access to 40 million doses.
And 10 million – enough for five million Britons – will be available to the UK by the end of the year.
The news comes the husband and wife team, whose parents both migrated to Germany, dedicated their lives to medical science with Dr Tuereci once telling an interviewer they even made time for lab work on the day they got married.
The oncology professors co-founded BioNTech in 2008 after setting up their previous firm Ganymed Pharmaceuticals which sold for £1.06billion in 2016.
Together they looked into the immune system as a potential ally in the fight against cancer by investigating the unique genetic makeup of each tumour.
Through BioNTech they hope to to develop more cancer immunotherapy tools.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested £41.8million BioNTec, which also works on HIV and tuberculosis programmes.
According to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Dr Sahin and Dr Tureci are now among the 100 most richest people in Germany.
Despite their wealth, colleagues say Dr Sahin is a calm and measured man who is more interested in reading scientific journals than checking how much the company is worth.
Matthias Kromayer, a board member of venture capital firm MIG AG, whose funds have backed BioNTech, said Dr Sahin would enter business meetings wearing jeans and carrying his signature bicycle helmet and backpack with him.
He added: “Despite his achievements, he never changed from being incredibly humble and personable.”
Matthias Theobald, a fellow oncology professor at Mainz university who has worked with Dr Sahin for 20 years, said: “He is a very modest person. Appearances mean little to him.”
The new vaccine has sparked hopes of a return to normal by the spring, after months of misery in a seemingly endless battle against Covid-19, that has so far resulted in 49,238 deaths.
But Boris Johnson urged caution and warned people not to let their guard down in the Covid-19 fight.
He is pleading with the nation not to stop social distancing and following the strict lockdown rules.
The PM said: “If the Pfizer vaccine passes all the rigorous safety checks and is proven to be effective, we will begin a UK-wide NHS-led programme of distribution.
“We absolutely cannot rely on this as a solution.
“The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve.”
But he admitted the vaccine meant the “scientific cavalry” was finally on its way.
SAGE adviser Dr Jeremy Farrar said manufacture of the jabs would be the “largest and fastest” in history and rolling it out across the country would be a “phenomenal challenge”.
Global markets surged yesterday as the news will spark a manufacturing blitz with Pfizer’s value soaring by £21billion at one point.
Vaccines normally take at least five years to develop.