The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to scientists who developed the technology that led to the creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. This is stated in the Nobel Committee’s report.
“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 statement says.
According to the BBC, the professors were informed of the victory by phone and were “stunned” by the news. They plan to divide the prize among each other.
As you know, before the pandemic, mRNA vaccine technology was experimental, but it formed the basis of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Now it is being studied for the treatment of other diseases, including cancer.
Traditional vaccines introduce an inactivated virus protein, or antigen, into the body. This way, the immune system learns to recognize the virus if it reappears. The technology of mRNA vaccines works differently and there is no need to introduce an antigen. Instead, the genetic sequence or “code” of the antigen is used in the form of mRNA, which causes the body to create antibodies.