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Nobel Prize Awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for Their Work Which Supported the mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine

Oct 2, 2023

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.   Karikó and Weissman noticed that dendritic cells recognise in vitro transcribed mRNA as a foreign substance, which leads to their activation and the release of inflammatory signaling molecules.  They produced different variants of mRNA, each with unique chemical alterations in their bases, which abolished the inflammatory response by the cells and paving the way for the use of mRNA as a therapy.  

Recently on 11 September 2023, the FDA approved Pfizer & BioNTech’s 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine.