Hungarian-born Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman of the United States (US) have won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research that led directly to the first mRNA vaccines to fight COVID-19, made by Pfizer and Moderna, according to the awarding body.
“The laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times,” the jury said in Sweden’s capital Stockholm on October 2, 2023.
It was reported that both were notified by telephone that they had won the prize and both scientists were delighted.
Kariko, a Hungarian biochemist, and Weissman, an American physician, are both professors at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work became the foundation for Pfizer and its Germany-based partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna, to use a new approach to produce vaccines that use messenger RNA or mRNA.
The prize winners receive 920 thousand euros, the highest nominal value in local currency in Nobel's more than century-long history. The Nobel Foundation announced last month that it was increasing the prize amount due to an improvement in its financial situation. The Nobel Prize will be awarded in Stockholm on Tuesday for physics, followed by chemistry on Wednesday, the highly anticipated literature prize on Thursday, and the peace prize, the only prize awarded in Oslo, on October 6, 2023.
The winner of the 1969 Economics Prize will be announced next Monday.