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…And Now – a Lebanese and an Israeli Join them!

By Shlomo Maital        

Noubar Afeyan

                     Dr. Tal Zaks

     It has just been announced that the COVID-19 vaccine under development by Moderna – also an mRNA vaccine, like that of Pfizer – has proved in early trials to be 94.5% effective!  That means – some 95% of those exposed to the virus were prevented from contracting it by the vaccine.  Dr. Anthony Fauci said this result, and that of Pfizer (90% effective), were better than one could hope for.

    In my previous blog, posted hours ago,  I described how two German doctors of Turkish origin, founders of BioNtech, joined with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, of Greek origin, to develop, produce and distribute an mRNA vaccine, now shown effective. 

     Now comes Noubar Afeyan, a serial entrepreneur, born to Armenian parents in Lebanon, who migrated to Canada as a teenager, did his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering at MIT, and founded several companies, including Moderna, which he chairs.  Afeyan employs Dr. Tal Zaks, an Israeli, as chief medical officer,  and they have collaborated to quickly and effectively develop a COVID-19 vaccine, based on the mRNA technology that I explained in my earlier blog. 

      These two vaccines are not competitors, they complement one another.  Moderna’s vaccine is easier to store as it remains stable at minus 20C for up to six months and it can be kept in a standard fridge for up to a month.  Pfizer’s needs dry ice and minus 70 degrees C.  The Moderna vaccine may be much easier to administer in low-income countries.

    For both these vaccines, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s,  the key roles played in developing and producing them were played by immigrants.    Greece, Germany, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Israel, Canada. 

     What beautiful irony, that the anti-immigrant Trump administration, RIP, is in its dying days watching America and the world being saved by the very immigrants it tried so hard to hassle, and to keep out of America.   

       Stephen Miller, hello?  Any second thoughts?   

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital

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