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UK Patients Could Receive Coronavirus Vaccine in Mid-December, Says BioNTech Co-Founder

© AP Photo / Bebeto MatthewsA bus stop ad for COVID-19 testing is shown outside Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, but it doesn't mean a vaccine is imminent.
A bus stop ad for COVID-19 testing is shown outside Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, but it doesn't mean a vaccine is imminent. - Sputnik International
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As the vaccine currently in development by BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer shows a promising success rate in its early trial period, leading scientists are being asked to clarify when life may return to normal in the United Kingdom.

Speaking to Sky News, Professor Ugur Sahin, who co-founded German firm BioNTech and responsible for the new Pfizer vaccine, said the first set of vaccines could be administered to patients across the country in mid-December.

He added that the move would be subject to UK regulators, however, and if the serum is license in time, explaining that the middle of December will "not mean the situation will dramatically change".

"This will be a difficult winter. It will become worse before it becomes better", he said.

With the vaccine, he continued, the UK could see a "return to normal life by the middle of next year".

He stressed that the vaccines 90% effectiveness is an "outstanding result".

"We don't expect that, as serious scientists, we consider potential efficacy between 60, 70 and 80%", he said.

He said "of course" after being asked if felt under pressure following trials that observed a 90% success but clarified it is "not a race against each other, it's a race against time."

Professor Sahin said that while the world waits on government greenlighting of the vaccine and safety precautions, the most effective measures people can do is wear a mask and adhere to social distancing measures.

"Everyone has a responsibility. It's not just about governments. The most important aspect is to carry a mask, be careful and avoid too many people being too long in one room", he said.

In response to being asked if he would take the vaccine himself, he said he would take it "on the first day I'm allowed to".

​This comes as the Turkish-German scientist and his wife become the leaders in the global race to produce a working vaccine against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The 55-year old professor Sahin co-founded the BioNTech with his wife and fellow board member Özlem Türeci as well Austrian cancer expert and Sahin's former teacher, Prof Christoph Huber.

BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer announced earlier this week that their vaccine saw 90% of people tested shielded from Covid-19, based on the early results from Phase 3 trials.

The Pfizer jab is one of 11 vaccines that are currently in the final stages of testing across the world being manufactured by various other pharmaceutical companies.

Such quick development of a vaccine has never been seen before. Typically,  research and trials can take around seven or eight years. BioNTech's development team has been dubbed "Project Lightspeed".

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