Ms. Katalin Karikó and Mr. Drew Weissman, the two scientists behind the mRNA technology that helped prepare two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna – Photo: THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
According to the newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer, about 16 years after their research at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) paved the way for billions of people to be vaccinated against COVID-19, two scientists Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman were finally honored with the Breakthrough Prize. worth 3 million USD.
“Priscilla (wife of billionaire Mark Zuckerberg) and I co-founded the Breakthrough Prize to honor scientists at the forefront of discovery. This year, I’m particularly interested in the work of two scientists Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman helped create a COVID-19 vaccine,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive officer, wrote on Facebook on September 9.
According to Zuckerberg, research by Hungarian-born biochemist, Katalin Karikó, and American immunologist Drew Weissman began decades ago, to understand the possibility of using mRNA (messenger RNA) in the immune response mechanism.
“Their efforts paved the way for the use of mRNA in vaccine formulation by Pfizer (USA)/BioNTech (Germany) and Moderna (USA), and opened up the potential for mRNA application in vaccines and future treatments for other diseases – including HIV and cancer,” Zuckerberg wrote.
At the end of the article, the Facebook “boss” congratulated all the winners of the 2022 Breakthrough Prize.
On September 9, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and its founding sponsors (including Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Anne Wojcicki) announced the winners. The 10th Annual Breakthrough Prize, awarded a total of $15.75 million to scientists.
They are experts in the fields of life sciences, mathematics and general physics. Prizes are awarded for discoveries that have helped create COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics for neurological diseases, precise quantum clocks and other important discoveries.