Pfizer has announced a new Coronavirus vaccine, which the company claims has a 90 percent effectiveness. This has proven to be the biggest, most optimistic news this year which has been drowned in non stop bad news. The much-anticipated discovery brought to the limelight the name of the pharmaceutical company’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla.
“It is a great day for science. It is a great day for humanity when you realize your vaccine has 90% effectiveness. That’s overwhelming. You understand that the hopes of billions of people and millions of businesses and hundreds of governments that were felt on our shoulders. Now…I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel.” – Dr. Albert Bourla told CNBC
Dr. Bourla is a Thessaloniki native who left Greece at the age of 34 to pursue a career in the pharmaceuticals industry. Born on October 21, 1961, he is part of the long history of the Sephardic Jews of Thessaloniki.
The Bourla family arrived in Thessaloniki from Spain about six centuries ago. As jewelers, they created and sold diamonds, jewelry and watches throughout the Balkans, and built two important buildings in the city, one of which is the Moroccan Mansion. Albert Bourla is a descendant of the few survivors of the Jewish community of the city which was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis during World War II.
After graduating from high school Bourla went on to study at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He graduated with a PhD in veterinary medicine and worked as a veterinarian for a time. He joined Pfizer in 1993, first serving as a doctor of veterinary medicine and technical director for the company’s animal health division in Greece.