Kariko, Weissman Win Nobel Medicine Prize for COVID-19 Vaccines Research
By Adedapo Adesanya
Scientists Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries enabling the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the award-giving body said on Monday.
The prize, among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is selected by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute Medical University and also comes with 11 million Swedish crowns (about $1 million).
“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.
The discoveries by the new laureates were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020. Through their groundbreaking findings, the scientists contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times.
The medicine prize kicks off this year’s awards with the remaining five to be unveiled in the coming days.
On Tuesday, the prize for physics will be announced. On Wednesday — chemistry, Thursday — literature, Friday — peace, and next Monday, economic sciences.
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
The prizes, first handed out in 1901, were created by the late Swedish inventor and wealthy businessman, Mr Alfred Nobel.
Annual prizes for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace were established in the will of the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who died in 1896. A prize in economic sciences was added by Sweden’s central bank in 1968.
The King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, will present the prizes at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death, followed by a lavish banquet at city hall.
Last year’s medicine prize went to Sweden’s Svante Paabo for sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans, and for discovering a previously unknown human relative, the Denisovans.
Other past notable winners include Dr Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Dr Karl Landsteiner in 1930 for his discovery of human blood groups.