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“The 2023 Nobel Prize 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,” the body said.
Karikó and Weissman’s Nobel Prize win was announced at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Source: AP / Jessica Gow
Karikó was senior vice president and head of RNA protein replacement at BioNTech until 2022 and has since acted as an adviser to the company.
Weissman is professor in vaccine research at the Perelman School.
Work ‘fundamentally changed’ understanding of mRNA
Karikó found a way to prevent the immune system from launching an inflammatory reaction against lab-made mRNA, previously seen as a major hurdle against any therapeutic use of mRNA.
“So this year’s Nobel Prize recognises their basic science discovery that fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with the immune system and had a major impact on society during the recent pandemic,” said Rickard Sandberg, member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute.
Medicine prize begins 2023 Nobel Prize awards
The Swedish king will present the prizes at a ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death, followed by a lavish banquet at city hall.
Other past winners include Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner in 1930 for his discovery of human blood groups.