World Bank-IMF Turkish Employees Association (WITSA), founders of BioNTech, Prof. Dr. Uğur Şahin and Dr. Organized a video conference event titled “International Cooperation in Overcoming the Epidemic” with the participation of Özlem Türeci.
Moderated by World Bank Senior Economist Sibel Kulaksız, the event discussed how international organizations and the private sector can cooperate to better support global efforts in the fight against current and future epidemics.
“WE DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO FINANCE THE PROJECT”
Prof. Dr. Uğur Şahin, in his speech, stated that BioNTech was established to develop immunotherapy treatments for cancer and that they felt the responsibility to do something with the awareness of the epidemic in January last year.
Stating that there is no evidence that it will be successful when they decide to start the project, Şahin stated that the aim of the project is to develop vaccines as soon as possible.
Stating that they did not know how the financing would be at the beginning of the project, Şahin said, “We did not know how to finance this project. To give an example, our total budget for the next two years was approximately 350 million dollars and we knew that the project would have around 1.5 billion expenses. said.
“WE HAVE SUPPLYED THE VACCINE TO MORE THAN 10 MILLION PEOPLE”
Stating that they knew they had only scientific and technological competence when starting the project, Şahin noted that they now have an effective vaccine.
“We have supplied the vaccine to more than 10 million people, but there is still a lot to achieve. We want to deliver our vaccine to people all over the world. We want to make sure that not only economically developed countries but also developing countries have access to the vaccine.” he spoke.
Emphasizing the importance of cooperation, Şahin said, “It is very clear that this virus will remain with us. This is not just a temporary problem of 2021 and 2022. This is a challenge for the next 10 years.” said.
EQUALITY HIGHLIGHT IN VACCINE DISTRIBUTION
Dr. Özlem Türeci explained that they started the project with “speed of light” in order to develop a fast, reliable and effective vaccine.
Stating that they want to ensure equality in the distribution and access of the vaccine, Türeci emphasized the importance of international cooperation.
Türeci pointed out that the epidemic was a health crisis of an unprecedented scale and stated that they overcame many obstacles while developing the vaccine, and similarly, they now have to overcome obstacles in the distribution of the vaccine.
Stating that low and middle income countries have more difficult access to vaccines compared to developed countries, Türeci stated that they have storage and transportation difficulties.