Shaheen, the founding partner of the “Bountech” company specializing in biochemistry, said that he expected the vaccine to be distributed in Britain in mid-December.
But he stressed that the matter depends on the licenses that the authorities grant for the vaccine, so the earliest date will not be before the middle of next month.
Even with the vaccine being distributed, a radical change will not happen, according to the German scientist, who warned of a harsh winter.
“Winter will be difficult and it will get worse before conditions start to improve,” Shaheen said, adding that “pending the completion of safety checks and government approvals, the best thing that one can do is to wear a medical mask and maintain social distancing.”
He continued: “Everyone has a responsibility, and the matter is not limited to governments, and the most important thing here is to wear a mask and be careful and avoid staying too many people in one room for a long time.”
Shaheen expected life to return to normal in the middle of next year in Britain, Europe and the United States.
In the interview, which he spoke from his home in Germany, Shaheen touched on the stages of making the vaccine, starting from last January, after news began to flow about the presence of a virus in China.
He said, “We scientists did not expect it to be effective, as our expectations were in the range between 60 and 80 percent.”
Shaheen mentioned the “only pressure” that was presented in the vaccine industry, and said, “It was not a race against each other, but a race against time.”
He said he would receive the vaccine on the first day he was allowed to.
The German scientist does not have a TV set in his home, and he goes to work by bicycle, despite the fact that the market value of his company has reached 21 billion dollars.
All he wanted, he said, was to focus on his work, considering himself middle-class and assured that he wanted nothing more than normal life.
The scientist immigrated from Turkey, his country of origin, with his family when he was a four-year-old child, and lived and studied in Germany until he obtained a doctorate in medicine at the University of Saarland in 1993.
And when Professor Shaheen came across in January this year a scientific paper on the outbreak of the Corona virus in Wuhan, China, he was shocked at how similar anti-cancer drugs were to those needed for potential viral vaccines.
He said that “it was clear that the possibility of Corona turning into a pandemic is great,” and he expected the epidemic to reach Germany, and added: “Therefore, it was logical that we start working quickly, so we have no time to waste.”
Shaheen Ozlam Tureigi met while working, and together they established a company in 2001, and they got married the following year.
In 2008, they co-founded the “Biontech” company, and in the same year they sold their first company for more than $ 1 billion.
The company quickly appointed 500 employees to work on potential compounds for the expected vaccine, and last March it had the support of the American “Pfizer” and another Chinese company.
Less than 9 months later, the couple were the first people to offer real hope to the world about the end of the epidemic.
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