The modern-day Curies: Meet the scientist couple behind 90% effective COVID-19 vaccine

The modern-day Curies: Meet the scientist couple behind 90% effective COVID-19 vaccine


Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin are rapidly becoming the most celebrated marriage in science since Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radioactivity.

The German-Turkish couple are on the brink of claiming the first effective coronavirus vaccine but, like their predecessors, they ride everywhere on bikes, are not interested in the billions of dollars they could make from their discovery and are happiest working together in their white lab coats, even on their wedding day. Like Marie Curie, they are immigrants, their parents both came to Germany from Turkey as part of the guest worker program, and they may yet share a Nobel prize after their company, BioNTech — along with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer — announced Monday their COVID vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.

Dr. Sahin, born in Iskenderun, near the Syrian border, is the son of a car factory worker. Dr. Tureci is the daughter of a surgeon from Istanbul. They met at Saarland University in Homburg and

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