Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman are awarded the Nobel Prize for their work on the modification and use of mRNA for Covid vaccines.

The annual Nobel season is upon us again. Yesterday, the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman ‘for their discoveries concerning the modification of nucleosides, which enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19’, according to the Nobel Committee.

Karikó’s name, in particular, began to circulate as soon as the mRNA vaccines were developed. It was therefore not so much a question of whether she would receive the prize, but rather when she would. That it was the Nobel Prize in Medicine is no surprise, but the Chemistry Prize was also an option - Karikó had been nominated for that too, as we heard in the corridors.

In any case, the editors of C2W | Mens & Molecule have followed the development of mRNA technology extensively, not only for vaccines but also for other applications. For example, we described how an mRNA vaccine is actually made (Dutch), presented the plans of start-up company RiboPro, and looked at the medicine of the future with Henk-Jan Out. We also spoke at length with Marc Kaptein, Medical Director of Pfizer Netherlands, about his company’s big bet on mRNA vaccines, and held two webinars on the subject (Dutch): with Niek Sanders on the composition of mRNA vaccines and how they work, and with Chantal Vogels on coronavirus variants and how vaccines respond to them.