Vaccine scientist hopes for return to ‘normal’ by next winter

If coronavirus vaccinations are rolled out widely, life could return to “normal” by next winter, one of the scientists behind the front-running coronavirus vaccine told British television on Sunday.

Ugur Sahin, the Turkish co-founder of German firm BioN, told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that “this winter will be hard” without any major impact from vaccinations.

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Together with US giant Pfizer, BioN is developing the leading candidate in the worldwide chase for a vaccine,

“If all goes well, we will start to deliver the vaccine at the end of this year, or beginning of next year,” Sahin said.

“Our goal is to deliver more than 300 million doses by April next year, which could already have an impact,” he said.

The infection rate will then go down in summer, he predicted, adding that it is essential that there is a high takeup of the vaccination by autumn.

“I’m confident that this will happen, he said.

A number of vaccination companies are working to increase the supply, he said: “so we could have a normal winter next (year).”

Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci founded BioNTech in the western German city of Mainz in 2008.

Having identified promising vaccine blueprints, the company formed a partnership in March with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The announcement on Monday that their vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in trials led news bulletins around the world and sent stock markets and hopes soaring.

BioNTech is now worth $25.8 billion (21.8 billion euros), more than Germany’s largest lender Deutsche Bank.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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