Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

'Manageable' COVID-19 to continue to exist for some years, says BioNTech co-founder

Ozlem Tureci suggests world should not live in fear as pandemic already started to become manageable

Zehra Nur Düz   | 30.09.2021
'Manageable' COVID-19 to continue to exist for some years, says BioNTech co-founder

ANKARA 

The world should not live in fear of the coronavirus as it will continue to exist for some years, but it has become manageable, said co-founder of the German company BioNTech on Thursday.

“COVID-19 will become manageable," Ozlem Tureci said on CNBC, adding, "It already has started to become manageable.”

In the latest episode of the “CNBC Conversation,” Tureci stressed that they will “need to go back to a new normality because this virus will accompany us for, still, some years.”

Commenting on concerns over new coronavirus variants, Tureci said, "BioNTech continuously assesses those upcoming variants, and there will be more.”

“For all these variants that are currently circulating, it seems that boosters alone, bringing waning immune responses back to high levels, are suitable and do protect,” she commented.

“However, we have to continue to screen because there may be variants upcoming for which this is not the case. And we have a second pillar for this, which is that we train ourselves to be swift and adaptable in the event of a variant,” she noted.

She said additional data is needed to help them figure out how to get out of the virus outbreak, but that subsequent boosters might be given “every 12 or 18 months.”

Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, two Turkish-German scientists, have won the most prestigious medicine award in Germany for their achievements in the use of mRNA for preventive and therapeutic purposes, the Scientific Council of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation announced on Sept. 21.

Sahin and Tureci, the second-generation Turkish immigrants who co-founded BioNTech, the German firm that developed a COVID-19 vaccine alongside Pfizer, were among the scientists to win the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize 2022.

The Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize is Germany’s most renowned medical award, endowed with €120,000, said the foundation's website.

Sahin and Tureci are a husband-and-wife duo who surprised the world when they announced that the vaccine they developed together with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer was more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.

Theirs was the first vaccine released, faster than many had predicted, and it relied on cutting-edge mRNA technology that the couple had championed.


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