The vaccine breakthroughs at Moderna and Pfizer are the latest examples of how immigrants have been driving billions in American innovation for decades

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On Monday, Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, announced that its mRNA-1273 vaccine, developed in partnership with the US government, appeared to be 94.5% effective against the novel coronavirus. 

It was a major breakthrough in modern science. And it was made possible in part because of an immigrant from the Middle East named Noubar Afeyan. 

The 58-year-old is the cofounder and chairman of Moderna, and founder and CEO of the venture-capital firm backing the company, Flagship Pioneering. Born in Beirut to Armenian parents, he moved to Canada to study at McGill University in Montreal. 

“As a teenager

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