Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman. Photo: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Institute
What’s the name of the prize?
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2023.
Who has won the prize?
Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman.
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. pic.twitter.com/Y62uJDlNMj
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 2, 2023
Katalin Karikó was born in 1955 in Szolnok, Hungary. She received her PhD from Szeged’s University in 1982 and performed postdoctoral research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged until 1985. She then conducted postdoctoral research at Temple University, Philadelphia, and the University of Health Science, Bethesda. In 1989, she was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she remained until 2013. After that, she became vice president and later senior vice president at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals. Since 2021, she has been a Professor at Szeged University and an Adjunct Professor at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Drew Weissman was born in 1959 in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA. He received his MD, PhD degrees from Boston University in 1987. He did his clinical training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School and 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 the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research and Director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovations.
What have they won the prize for?
For their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19
In a press release, the Nobel Institute said the discoveries by Karikó and Weissman were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020. “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,” it said.
How are they splitting the prize?
The Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said the prize money, worth 10 million Swedish crowns (~Rs 7.52 crore), will be split equally between the laureates.