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Two years ago, Ugur Sahin was an under-the-radar but extremely determined scientist running a company called BioNTech, which was trying to generate interest in using mRNA technology to combat different illnesses. Since then, he partnered with Pfizer to develop a Covid-19 vaccine that this year is forecast to generate about $19 billion in revenue for the company, assuming 2.5 billion doses are shipped. The vaccine is an historic success story — scientifically, medically, and financially — for both companies.

But there are also questions about the extent to which booster doses will — or should be — needed as well as criticism about ensuring global access to vaccines in order to eradicate the pandemic. We spoke this week with Sahin over coffee about these issues. This is an edited version of our conversation …


I’d like to start by asking about the durability of the vaccine. Is a third dose, after however many months, going to help the body’s response and improve protection for a longer period of time? Or are we going to need more frequent boosters into the future?

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