The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to a pair of scientists who developed the technology that led to the mRNA Covid vaccines.
Professors Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman will share the prize.
The technology was experimental before the pandemic, but has now been given to millions of people around the world to protect them against serious Covid-19.
The same mRNA technology is now being researched for other diseases, including cancer.
The Nobel Prize committee said: “The laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times.”
The 2023 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/Y62uJDlNMj
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 2, 2023
Both were told they had won by telephone this morning and were said to be “overwhelmed”.
Vaccines train the immune system to recognise and fight threats such as viruses or bacteria.
Traditional vaccine technology has been based on dead or weakened versions of the original virus or bacterium – or by using fragments of the infectious agent.