In the 11 months since they devoted themselves to stemming the deadliest pandemic in over a century, Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin’s precious few private moments have been spent exercising along deserted suburban streets near their home in the German city of Mainz, listening to ‘80s pop playlists.

Deluged by paperwork from regulators around the world last week, the co-founders of BioNTech missed the TV footage of 90-year-old Margaret Keenan rolling up her sleeve at a hospital in Coventry in the UK to become the first patient injected with their approved Covid-19 vaccine — the news trickling in via messages from friends and colleagues...

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