The secretary of the Nobel Assembly has announced in Stockholm that Hungarian-born biochemist Katalin Karikó and American physician-scientist Drew Weissman have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The two scientists have been awarded for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
President Katalin Novák congratulated Karikó in a post on Facebook, noting that Karikó is the first Hungarian woman to receive the prize. “Our nation is enriched by and proud of a Nobel Prize winner whose research may have saved millions of lives.” Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, a member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, said Karikó and Weissman’s work had been crucial in saving lives in the early stages of the pandemic. “The impressive flexibility and speed with which mRNA vaccines can be developed pave the way for using the new platform also for vaccines against other infectious diseases,” the Nobel Assembly said. “In the future, the technology may also be used to deliver therapeutic proteins and treat some cancer types.” The Nobel Prize carries a cash award of 11 million Swedish krona (EUR 952,000). The award ceremony is traditionally held on Dec. 10, the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel.