The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to a pair of scientists who developed the technology that led to the mRNA Covid vaccines.
The accolade, among the most prestigious in the scientific world, went to Katalin Kariko, from Hungary, and Drew Weissman, from 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.
BBC reports that both winners were told they had won by telephone this morning and were said to be “overwhelmed”.
During the Covid pandemic, the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were both based on mRNA technology.
Professor Kariko and Professor Weissman met in the early 1990s when they were working at the University of Pennsylvania, in the United States, when their interest in mRNA was seen as a scientific backwater.
The same mRNA technology is now being researched for other diseases, including cancer