The study utilized blood taken from people who had already been given the vaccine, and the findings are limited because it does not look at the full set of mutations found in new variants of the virus.
But the findings are still “good news” according to Phil Dormitzer, a vaccine scientist at Pfizer.
“So we’ve now tested 16 different mutations, and none of them have really had any significant impact. That’s the good news,” Dormitzer told Reuters.
Pfizer and BioNTech have made history with the results of their coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine, developed in partnership between the US and German companies, has an efficacy of over 90%, per clinical trial data.
They are both German citizens, with families of Turkish origin.
Per The New York Times, Sahin immigrated to Germany from Turkey when he was 4 years old and Türeci was born in Germany. Sahin hails from Iskenderun, a city near the Syrian border, while Türeci’s father is from Istanbul. Türeci has described herself as a “Prussian Turk,” per the Guardian, citing her admiration for aspects of German culture.
They came to medicine through different routes: Sahin, the child of a car factory worker, was introduced to it from science books. Türeci’s father is a surgeon, and she grew up watching him operate on patients.
The couple met while working at a university hospital in southwest Germany.
Sahin had also worked at hospitals in Cologne, according to Reuters. He received his MD from the University of Cologne in 1990. Türeci got her MD from Saarland University Faculty of Medicine.
The duo cofounded their first pharmaceutical company in 2001. They married the next year.
Starting in 2000, Sahin and Türeci had together been leading a research group at University of Mainz. Then, in 2001, they founded Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, which focused on the role of antibodies in treating cancer. Per Forbes, Ganymed received backing from billionaires — and identical twins — Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann.
BioNTech and Sahin began to narrow in on coronavirus research in January. Pfizer partnered with them in March.
According to the Times, Sahin read an article from The Lancet in January on Wuhan’s outbreak. He spotted the potential dangers and, according to Reuters, saw how BioNTech’s work on mRNA could be applicable for a vaccine.
That’s when the company had 500 staffers start working on potential compounds for “Project Lightspeed.”
As Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn reported, BioNTech had worked on a potential flu vaccine with Pfizer in 2018. As Sahin began to focus on coronavirus research, he called Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research, in February.
Sahin reportedly doesn’t check the company’s share price.
Sahin is known among his peers for continuing to bike into work, reportedly often toting a helmet and backpack. He continues to teach at Mainz University Medical Center; he began teaching there in 2014.
And, in addition to her BioNTech duties, Türeci serves as the president for the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy.
The couple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
While BioNTech soars, and vaccine distribution and production ramps up, investors told the Times that the couple is focused on driving medical advances — not the money.