FT selects vaccine founders Şahin, Türeci as People of the Year
The Financial Times has selected Turkish-German scientists Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who are at the helm of developing the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine, as 2020 People of the Year.
They are the symbol of a remarkable scientific and business success story, said the Financial Times.
The pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which Dr. Şahin and Dr. Türeci founded in 2008, managed to develop an experimental vaccine together with its American partner Pfizer. The vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
Even a few months ago, scientists suggested it would be a major achievement to get a vaccine so quickly that was 70 percent effective, the Financial Times noted.
“If you had predicted in January when COVID-19 first appeared that you’d have an effective vaccine approved less than a year later, people would have laughed in your face,” Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University, told the daily.
“To the immense credit of a generation of vaccine specialists, there are now at least three jabs that could be more than 90 percent effective. The Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca products are still awaiting final approval. But the vaccine developed by German company BioNTech is already starting to save lives,” wrote Roula Khalaf, the FT editor.
“For that reason, the husband-and-wife team behind the company are the FT’s People of the Year for 2020. They epitomize scientific endeavor at its very best…They are an inspiring example of intelligence, perseverance and bold decision-making in business.”
Both Şahin and Türeci were born to immigrant parents from Turkey who moved to Germany in the 1960s.