The co-founder of the vaccine developer BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, considers a delivery of the corona vaccine possible before the end of this year. It is “within the realm of possibility that we may be able to deliver the vaccine in December,” Sahin said in an interview with the news agency AFP on Thursday. “But everyone really has to work very, very closely and intensively together.
The vaccine developed by BioNTech and the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is one of the most promising products in the fight against the pandemic.
Sahin believes it is possible that the vaccine will be approved this year in the USA or in Europe “or in both regions”. His team is working “feverishly” on an approval, the Mainz native explained. “The documents will be finalized today and tomorrow and submitted to the FDA.” The “updated data with efficacy data” are expected to be submitted to the European authorities next week. Approval could then be granted “within a few weeks”.
Hope for a “normal winter“
According to the BioNTech founder, if approved, up to 70 percent of the population could be vaccinated before autumn next year. “I think if we do a really good job, and by ‘we’ I mean all parties involved – governments, various pharmaceutical companies and also the vaccine logistics companies – we could get 60 to 70 percent of the population vaccinated before fall 2021,” he told AFP. “And if we can do that, then we can have a normal winter without going back to shutdown.”
According to the scientist, the only thing that helps against vaccination skeptics is “education, information and transparency”. He could also imagine that “the discussions will stop quite soon, or at least not be so much in the foreground for a while” when the first people have been vaccinated and report on their experiences.
The Mainz-based company BioNTech and its U.S. partner Pfizer made headlines worldwide with the announcement that their vaccine candidate had been found to be more than 90 percent effective in clinical trials. After completion of the analyses of the last large-scale clinical trial, an efficacy of 95 percent was even confirmed, according to the company.
Sahin spoke with AFP when the data on the efficacy of the vaccine candidate became available. “Champagne is not our thing. We sat down and then had tea,” he said. Afterwards, he said, the team “used the time to reflect on what has happened so far and what comes next.”
BioNTech was founded in 2008 by Sahin, his wife Özlem Türeci and the Austrian cancer researcher Christoph Huber. Two years ago, the company entered into a cooperation agreement with Pfizer, which was extended in March this year to include the search for a vaccine in view of the Corona pandemic. Biontech received 375 million euros in funding from the German government for its research.
— hp with reports from kurier.at. Picture: screenshot, twitter
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