Dear TWIG Readers,
Today, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded the founders of BioNTech with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin received the high honors for the development of their COVID-19 vaccine.
“The result of your labors has been called a miracle vaccine by many people around the world,” President Steinmeier said in his speech. “You yourselves are described as a formidable pair of entrepreneurs, top researchers, scientific heroes and even as saviors of the world.”
Türeci and Sahin founded their biotech firm in the year 2008. Back then, they focused primarily on cancer research. However, the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic prompted the husband-and-wife team to launch a project to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine, beginning in January 2020. Today, their vaccine is produced by US partner Pfizer. With an efficacy rate of over 90%, their vaccine is now a leading vaccine against the COVID-19 virus.
The Knight’s Commander Cross of the Federal Order of Merit is a prestigious award and the only federal decoration of Germany. It has been awarded to over 200,000 people since its creation in 1951.
However, the award given to the BioNTech founders is the only award that President Steinmeier has delivered in person this year. The award ceremony took place at the Bellevue Palace and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended to congratulate the recipients.
Webteam, German Embassy