The Nobel Assembly said Karikó and Weissman published their results in a seminal 2005 paper that received little attention at the time but laid the foundation for critically important developments that have served humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic…reports Asian Lite News
Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
“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,” The Nobel Prize posted on X on Monday.
“The findings by 2023 #NobelPrize laureates Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman led to the approval of two highly successful mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020. The vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented severe disease in many more,” the post added.
The Nobel Assembly said the discoveries by the two Nobel Laureates 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.
It said the laureates discovered that base-modified mRNA can be used “to block activation of inflammatory reactions and increase protein production when mRNA is delivered to cells”.
The Nobel Assembly said Karikó and Weissman published their results in a seminal 2005 paper that received little attention at the time but laid the foundation for critically important developments that have served humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mRNA vaccine technology against Covid-19, which on Monday received the 2023 Nobel for Medicine was publicly funded and not by pharma giants, said the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of organisations and activists working together towards equitable access to medical technologies that help to prevent and respond to Covid and future pandemics.
Their groundbreaking findings have fundamentally changed the understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, the Nobel committee said.
The umbrella group of NGOs hailed public funding, which it said “delivers incredible medical advances”, even as pharma giants refused to share vaccine technology, as well as test kits and other diagnostics to low-income countries during the pandemic.
“The award challenges the claim that it was solely big pharmaceutical companies who saved the world from Covid-19,” said Mohga Kamal-Yanni, Policy Co-Lead for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, in a statement.
“Just like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Kariko and Weissman’s groundbreaking work on mRNA vaccines received a huge amount of public funding.”
Kamal-Yanni also advised governments preparing for the next pandemic to prioritise on public funding as drugmakers will not share vaccines with the world.
“Pharmaceutical companies have refused to share mRNA technologies with developers and researchers in developing countries. Fortunately, Weissman is helping a WHO-backed mRNA programme which aims to develop mRNA technology in lower-income countries, even while pharmaceutical companies refuse to share their know-how,” Kamal-Yanni said.