Before the UN General Assembly, the Biontech founders Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci were optimistic about the containment of the corona pandemic by the end of 2021.

“There is no other option,” said Sahin, who, like his co-founder and wife Türeci, was connected by video on Friday in New York at a special session of the UN General Assembly.

“We have to do it and we will do it.” Türeci also said that if everyone around the world responsible for vaccine development and distribution could continue to be mobilized, then she would be “very optimistic and confident”.

Sahin had previously told how he read a scientific article on the coronavirus in January and realized that it would turn into a pandemic.

“I then ran to Özlem and told her that this outbreak was likely to become a pandemic.

We went into our company and said we had to change our plans for the year, that we couldn't just go on with cancer research.

We were all able to convince and started on the same day. "

Since then, the two and their team have worked through many weekends and nights.

The fact that the vaccine is now in the approval phase does not mean that they are ready.

“We still have many challenges ahead of us.

We need to understand how best to distribute a vaccine.

We have to understand how to make a vaccine available as quickly as possible. ”All of this can only work as a“ global effort, ”said Türeci.


Sahin, who was born in Turkey and later came to Germany with his parents, did his doctorate in Cologne.

Türeci, who was born in Germany, did her doctorate in Homburg in the Saarland.

Both are physicians in human medicine and have jointly founded the company Biontech in Mainz, which, together with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, has developed a corona vaccine on which, among others, great hopes rest in the fight against the corona pandemic.

At the two-day special session of the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary General António Guterres and around 100 heads of state and government, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, gave speeches.

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