The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to two scientists responsible for pioneering the technology behind the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. This esteemed honor was bestowed upon Katalin Kariko of Hungary and Drew Weissman of the United States.
“Through their groundbreaking findings, which have fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, the laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times,” the panel that awarded the prize said.
According to BBC reports, both laureates received the news of their victory via telephone earlier today and were described as being “deeply moved” by the announcement.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines relied on mRNA technology.
Professors Kariko and Weissman first crossed paths in the early 1990s while conducting research at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States. At that time, their fascination with mRNA was considered a less prominent area of scientific study.
Today, this very mRNA technology is undergoing exploration for the treatment of various other diseases, including cancer.