As Turkish people who both live in Turkey and abroad, we are proud of two eminent Turkish scientists. With the news of Prof. Dr. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci featuring on the cover of the world’s leading magazine TIME, we have walked on air! The husband-and-wife scientists had developed the Covid-19 vaccine towards the end of the last year. Thus, the founders of German BioNTech Company topped the world’s agenda.
What Did We Say…?
With the Covid-19 vaccine developed with the US company Pfizer against the coronavirus epidemic, TIME featured Prof. Dr. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci on the cover of the new year issue. The magazine, by the way, is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious magazines. On November 22, 2020, we had announced the footfalls of this success in our article. We had announced the news as an extraordinary achievement that may change the destiny of the 3rd decade of the 21st century. So, for now, the developments have been verifying us…
“The Year Ahead”: Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci
Founder of the German BioNTech company, Turkish-German scientists, were on the cover of TIME magazine’s first issue of 2021. Şahin and Türeci, who developed the coronavirus vaccine, thus, became the most popular duo on the world’s agenda.
Double Cover from TIME Magazine in 2021
TIME magazine appeared with a double cover in the first issue of ac2021. The magazine featured the congressional raid in the US issue. And as for the special issue, “The Year Ahead”, it featured the world’s renowned German-Turkish scientists Şahin and Türeci.
Who are Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci?
Husband-and-wife scientists Şahin and Türeci are the founding partners of BioNTech. The company is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Germany. The same is valid for Europe, too. They have, with this breakthrough development, settled on the top of the world agenda with the success of the Covid-19 vaccine.
They developed jointly with the US company Pfizer and became the most important names in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.
Two Turkish Immigrants in Germany: Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci
Dr. Sahin, 55, was born in Iskenderun, Turkey. When he was 4, his family moved to Cologne, Germany. In Cologne, his parents worked at a Ford factory. He grew up wanting to be a doctor and became a physician at the University of Cologne. In 1993, he earned a doctorate from the university for his work on immunotherapy in tumor cells.
As for Türeci, early in his career, he met Dr. Türeci. She had early hopes to become a nun and ultimately wound up studying medicine. Dr. Türeci, now 53 and the chief medical officer of BioNTech, was born in Germany. She was the daughter of a Turkish physician who immigrated from Istanbul. On the day, they were married, Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci returned to the lab after the ceremony. Whom we talk about here are two dedicated scientists.
The Progress of the BioNTech over the Years
Even before the pandemic, BioNTech was gaining momentum. So, the company raised hundreds of millions of dollars and now has more than 1,800 people on staff. They have offices in Berlin, other German cities, and Cambridge, Mass. As of 2018, it began its partnership with Pfizer. Then, last year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested $55 million to fund its work treating H.I.V. and tuberculosis. Moreover, in 2019, Dr. Sahin was awarded the Mustafa Prize, a biennial Iranian prize for Muslims in science and technology.
Modest Life of the Two Billionaires
The two billionaires live with their teenage daughter in a modest apartment near their office. What’s more, they ride bicycles to work and further, they do not own a car.
How did They Celebrate the Accomplishment?
Dr. Sahin said he and Dr. Türeci learned about efficacy data on Sunday night. Then, they marked the moment by brewing Turkish tea at home. So, he said, “We celebrated, of course,”. “It was a relief.”
Widely-Use of the Vaccine
So, the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, of which Şahin and Türeci are inventors, has already been used widely in many countries around the world.