Katalin Kariko’s partnership with Dr. Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania in the 90s led to their sharing the Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine.
Kariko and Weissman won the Nobel Prize for their work on tweaking mRNA genetic material to make it easier to use in vaccines. Their discovery led them to develop the first mRNA vaccines that target the COVID-19 Virus in 2020. This success has led to a variety of mRNA-based strategies being used for a range of conditions including cancer and other infectious diseases.
Kariko’s husband answered the call from Stockholm early in the morning on Oct. 2 at their home in a Philadelphia suburb. She told nobelprize.org that she initially thought “somebody was just joking.” While she said the conversation involved detailed scientific information that would have been hard to fake, “you never know in these days,” she said.
Kariko, true to their long-term partnership, called Weissman with the good news. He was likely reminded of many years of emails that he had sent to Kariko at…