Scientists who made Covid vaccine developing cancer jab ‘ready in two years’

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A new cancer vaccine from the company that created the first approved Covid-19 jab could be ready in two years.

BioNTech in Germany had already been working on a drug to fight cancer when the pandemic hit.

By rapidly developing a vaccine for coronavirus with Pfizer, massive orders helped fund BioNTech's work on an effective cancer vaccine.

It will use the same science behind the Covid-19 vaccine to tackle cancerous tumours.

A messenger RNA, which codes for a disease-specific antigen, will carry instructions into the human body for making proteins that prime it to attack a virus, New York Post reports.

Ozlem Tureci, who founded BioNTech with her husband Ugur Sahin, said: “We have several different cancer vaccines based on mRNA.”

Ms Tureci has not put a date on the vaccine's release but suggested we will not have to wait too long.

Asked when such a treatment might be available, she said “that’s very difficult to predict in innovative development. But we expect that within only a couple of years, we will also have our vaccines (against) cancer at a place where we can offer them to people.”

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Recognising the enormous feat of the husband-and-wife team's achievements, Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded one of the country’s highest decorations in the Order of Merit, on Friday.

Steinmeier told the couple: “You began with a drug to treat cancer in a single individual and today we have a vaccine for all of humanity.”

Tureci described the award as “indeed an honour” while insisting it was only possible thanks to her BioNTech colleagues.

She said: “It’s about the effort of many: our team at BioNTech, all the partners who were involved, also governments, regulatory authorities, which worked together with a sense of urgency.

“The way we see it, this is an acknowledgement of this effort and also a celebration of science.”

  • Coronavirus
  • Cancer
  • Science

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