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इंडियन आवाज़     18 May 2024 03:42:58      انڈین آواز

Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman win 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine

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The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to Hungarian-American biochemist Katalin Kariko and American physician-scientist Drew Weissman, for work on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology that paved the way for groundbreaking COVID-19 vaccines.
 
The Nobel Prize Committee in its statement said, the groundbreaking findings of Prof Karikó and Prof Weissman, have fundamentally changed the understanding of how mRNA interacts with a human being’s immune system. It said, the laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times.
 
The mRNA vaccines were approved for use in December 2020, and together with other Covid vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented severe disease. During the Covid-19 outbreak that began in early 2020, time was of the essence in finding a weapon against the deadly and fast-spreading virus. This is where mRNA technology proved crucial.
 
Vaccines train the immune system to recognise and fight threats such as viruses or bacteria. Unlike traditional vaccines which use a weakened virus or a key piece of the virus’ protein, mRNA vaccines provide the genetic molecules that tell cells what proteins to make, which simulates an infection and trains the immune system for when it encounters the real virus. The technology was experimental before the pandemic but has now been given to millions of people around the world. During the pandemic, the Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines were based on mRNA technology. The same mRNA technology is now being researched for other diseases, including cancer.
 
Kariko and Weissman, longstanding colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in US, have won a slew of awards for their research, including the prestigious Lasker Award in 2021, often seen as a precursor to the Nobel.
 
The pair will receive their prize at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on 10th of December, the death anniversary of scientist Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament.

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