Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work that helped in the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
Through their findings on how mRNA interacts with our immune system Hungary's Kariko and US' Weissman "contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times," the Nobel jury in Stockholm said.
It's the second year in a row that the medicine Nobel Prize is awarded to researchers who have been tackling questions regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic. In 2022, the award went to Swedish scientist Svante Paabo for discoveries in human evolution that unlocked secrets of Neanderthal DNA that which provided key insights into the human immune system, including vulnerability to severe COVID-19.
The 13th woman to win in the prize's history
The Nobel committee reached both Kariko and Weissman by phone prior to the public announcement. Kariko reportedly was "overwhelmed" when receiving the news, while Weissman was " enormously grateful."
The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious award in the fields in which it is presented. The prize money this year was increased by 1 million kronor to 11 million kronor (just over $1 million, or slightly under €1 million) because of the plunging value of the Swedish currency.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded 114 times since the prize's first year in 1901. It's gone to 227 scientists including this year's winners, but Kariko is only the 13th woman to receive the award.