Nobel Prize in medicine goes to Drew Weissman of U.S., Hungarian Katalin Karikó for enabling COVID-19 vaccines

The history of mRNA vaccines

The decades of development behind mRNA vaccine technology


Stockholm — The Nobel Prize in medicine has been awarded to Hungarian Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman of the U.S. for discoveries that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly, announced the award Monday in Stockholm.

“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.

Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly, announced the prize and said both scientists were “overwhelmed” by news of the prize when he contacted them shortly before the announcement.

Nobel Medicine
In this April 13, 2022 file photo, Japan Prize 2022 laureates Hungarian-American biochemist Katalin Kariko, left, and American physician-scientist Drew Weissman pose with their trophies in Tokyo. The 2023 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to the pair for enabling development of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, it was announced on Oct. 2, 2023.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

The Nobel Prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor ($1 million). The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896. The prize money was raised by 1 million kronor this year because of the plunging value of the Swedish currency.

The laureates are invited to receive their awards at ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The prestigious peace prize is handed out in Oslo, according to his wishes, while the other award ceremony is held in Stockholm.

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