Pfizer vaccine innovator talks about “cancer doses”


Azlim Tourejy, the immunologist who created the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine against the Coronavirus, reassured people of the vaccine’s safety. She said the technology behind it will soon be used to counter another global scourge, cancer.

The Pfizer vaccine is one of the vaccines that are trusted by many around the world, when compared to other vaccines against the Corona virus. It was developed by Tureigi and her husband Ugur Shaheen through the German company Biontech. As for Pfizer, an American company is working on its production.

Originally, Tureiji had been working over the past two decades on a way to harness the body’s immune system to treat tumors, when she suddenly learned, at the end of last year, of the emergence of a strange virus infecting people in China.

She and her husband, both Germans of Turkish descent, decided to harness their efforts for the new threat, and within just 11 months, the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine was developed.

Since last December, tens of millions of people around the world have received the vaccine, whose effectiveness has exceeded 90 percent, which is a resounding success for a previously produced drug that used to take many years.

“It pays to make bold decisions and trust them. If you have an exceptional team, you will be able to solve any problem and obstacle that comes your way in real time,” Torigi told the Associated Press.

And with the Corona virus, the company has become famous and its revenue has grown, as it seeks to use the money it raised to pursue its original goal of developing a new tool against cancer.

Vaccines made by Pfizer-Biontech use a substance called mRNA to transmit instructions to the human body and make proteins that prepare it to attack a specific virus. The same approach can be used to stimulate the immune system to fight tumors.

“We have several different mRNA-based cancer vaccines,” said Torreje, Biontek’s chief medical officer.

In response to a question about when such a treatment will be available, Toregi said, “It is very difficult to predict the innovative development. But we expect to get it in a few years.”

On Friday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Toureggi and her husband, Shaheen, awarded one of the country’s highest honors, during a ceremony attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel.


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