BioNTech Founders Türeci and Şahin on the Battle against COVID-19 "To See People Finally Benefitting from Our Work Is Really Moving"

In a DER SPIEGEL interview, BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin discuss the development of the world's first COVID-19 vaccine, what that success means to them and where they intend to go from here.
Interview Conducted by Steffen Klusmann und Thomas Schulz
BioNTech founders Türeci und Şahin

BioNTech founders Türeci und Şahin

Foto: 

Ramon Haindl / DER SPIEGEL

A vial of the BioNTech vaccine

A vial of the BioNTech vaccine

Foto: Ints Kalnins / REUTERS
DER SPIEGEL 01/2021
SPIEGEL International Pfeil nach rechts
Icon: Spiegel
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla: "Uğur is a very, very unique individual. He cares only about science."

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla: "Uğur is a very, very unique individual. He cares only about science."

Foto: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
"At some point, it became clear that many of those producers wouldn't be able to deliver in a timely manner."

Türeci

"The production of mRNA vaccines in medicinal quality is anything but trivial."

Şahin

Icon: Spiegel
"That's just part of the deal when you are trying to bring something brand new from the laboratory to the patient."

Türeci

The University of Mainz library: "We have also built up our own school of thought."

The University of Mainz library: "We have also built up our own school of thought."

Foto: Michael Schick / imago images
"To see people finally benefitting from our work is really moving."

Türeci

The first couple of research Türeci and Şahin: "We're doing well."

The first couple of research Türeci and Şahin: "We're doing well."

Foto: Ramon Haindl / DER SPIEGEL
"Our work doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. – we immerse ourselves in it."

Türeci

"I see a realistic chance that we will succeed in fundamentally changing how cancer is treated."

Şahin

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