Katalin Kariko – Mother of mRNA Technology & the Coronavirus Vaccine
Dedication to Science
Thanks to her 40 years of dedication to the scientific method, Hungarian immigrant and scientist Katalin Kariko developed the technology that brought humankind the mRNA vaccines. These are the coronavirus vaccines that are going into arms all over America.
Partnership leads to success.
In collaboration with her partner Drew Weissman, they developed a way to “cloak” the synthetic RNA to ensure the body would not detect it. They began their partnership in 1997, and in 2005 they succeeded.
Decades before her partnership with Weissman, Kariko labored in her lab researching the therapeutic possibilities of mRNA. For years her unwavering, single-minded focus continued–even in the face of multiple setbacks. These setbacks included demotions, declined grants, and a lack of respect from her colleagues.
Undeterred, she continued her experiments. The world owes her a debt of gratitude for her perseverance.
Technology licensed for coronavirus vaccine development
Pfizer and Moderna licensed the technology from this scientific dynamic-duo to develop the coronavirus vaccines we have today. And it is thanks to Kariko’s groundwork that coronavirus vaccine development took less than one year.
These are the first mRNA vaccines in human history. I doubt they will be the last.
After years on the scientific community’s fringes, Kariko now holds a senior post at the German firm BioNTech. BioNTech is Pfizer’s partner in the development of the company’s coronavirus vaccine.
Surely a candidate for Nobel Prize in Medicine
Her unwavering focus. Her dedication to bringing the benefits of mRNA to healthcare makes Katalin Kariko a favorite for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
She gets my vote.
Gratitude for Katalin Kariko
So, as we reflect, let’s remember to put Katalin Kariko on our gratitude lists. Her discovery and groundbreaking research will be a large part of what brings the Covid-19 pandemic to heel. And indeed, it may lead to many more therapeutic advancements for the good of all humankind.
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