The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to the authors of messenger RNA vaccines against Covid-19

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The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded on Monday to Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman for the development of messenger RNA vaccines against Covid-19.

The award was “for their discoveries regarding nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective messenger RNA vaccines against COVID-19.”

The discoveries of the two Nobel laureates were essential to the development of effective messenger RNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020. Through their breakthrough discoveries, which fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, laureates have contributed to the unprecedented pace of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in the modern era,” explained the Swedish Academy.

Katalin Kariko was born in 1955 in Szolnok, Hungary. He obtained his PhD from the University of Szeged in 1982 and did postdoctoral research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged until 1985. He then conducted postdoctoral research at Temple University in Philadelphia and Bethesda University of Health Sciences. In 1989, she was appointed assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she remained until 2013.

After that, he became vice president and later senior vice president at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals. Since 2021, he is a professor at the University of Szeged and an adjunct professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Drew Weissman was born in 1959 in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA. He received his MD and PhD degrees from Boston University in 1987. He did his clinical training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School and conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health.In 1997, Weissman established his research group at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a professor of vaccine research and director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovations.

The Nobel Prize is worth around USD 1 million.

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