Two Scientists Kariko and Weissman win Nobel Prize for mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine

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Scientists from Hungary and the United States, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, have won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries that made it possible to create mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The prize, which is among the most prestigious in the scientific world, has been chosen by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute medical university and also includes 11 million Swedish crowns that is approximately $1.56 million.
“The 2023 NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19,” the body said.

Kariko served as BioNTech’s senior vice president and head of RNA protein replacement until 2022, and has subsequently served as an adviser to the firm. She also teaches at the University of Szeged in Hungary and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr Weissman is professor in vaccine research at the Perelman School.

Dr. Karikó discovered a mechanism to prevent the immune system from starting an inflammatory response against lab-made mRNA, which was previously thought to be a major barrier to any therapeutic use of mRNA.

In 2005, she and Dr. Weissman demonstrated that changes to nucleosides — the molecular letters that write the genetic code of mRNA — can keep the mRNA hidden from the immune system.

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