COVID-19: The Science Behind Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine Can Be Used To Get People To Cancer “Within Years”, Says Co-creator | World news


The co-developer of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine said the technology behind it could soon also be used to fight cancer.

While the vaccine was funded by the American pharmaceutical giant, the science itself is the work of BioNTech, a German company founded by a married couple and dedicated doctors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci.

Dr. Tureci was working on a way to use the body’s immune system to fight tumors when the couple learned of a mysterious virus infecting people in China last year.

mRNA could be used to treat more than just COVID-19. Image: NIAID

During breakfast, they decided to apply the technology they had been researching for two decades to the new threat and named it “Project Lightspeed”.

Both Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) to send genetic instructions to cells in the human body and make proteins that prepare it to attack the coronavirus.

The same principle can be used to get the immune system to take in tumors.

“We have several cancer vaccines that are based on mRNA,” said Dr. Tureci told Associated Press.

When asked when such a therapy might be available, she replied: “This is very difficult to predict for the innovative development. However, we assume that we will have our (against) cancer vaccines in one place in just a few years where we can offer them to people. “

On Friday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded the wife and husband the Order of Merit, one of the highest honors in the country, at a ceremony attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

German scientists, CEOs and founders of BioNTech, Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin received the Order of Merit in Berlin
German scientists, CEOs and founders of BioNTech, Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin received the Order of Merit in Berlin

“You started with a drug to treat cancer in a single person,” Steinmeier told the couple. “And today we have a vaccine for all of humanity.”

Dr. Tureci said prior to the ceremony that it was “indeed an honor” to receive the award, but insisted that developing the vaccine was the work of many.

“It’s about the efforts of many: our team at BioNTech, all partners involved, including governments and regulators who have worked together with a sense of urgency,” she said.

“As we see it, this is a recognition of these efforts and a celebration of science too.”

Coming from humble beginnings as children of immigrants, scientists and entrepreneurs Professor Sahin (55) and Dr. Tureci (53) among the 100 richest Germans. The value of their company BioNTech rose on the wake of $ 21 billion (£ 16 billion) of vaccine breakthrough.

The Turkish-born and trained doctor Sahin is the managing director of BioNTech and has focused on research into immunotherapy.

Dr. Tureci, the company’s Chief Medical Officer, was born in Germany and is the daughter of a Turkish doctor who emigrated to the country from Istanbul.

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