The prizes are worth 11 million Swedish kroner, or about $1 million.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Two scientists have won Nobel Prize in Medicine on Monday for discoveries that enabled the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
The award was presented to Katalin Karikó, professor at Sagan University in Hungary and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Drew Weissman, who presented his award Award-winning research together with Karikó at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Through their groundbreaking findings that have fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, the laureates have contributed to an unprecedented pace of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times,” said the jury, who awarded the prize said.
Announcing the prize, Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly, said both scientists were “overwhelmed” by the news of the prize when he contacted them shortly before the announcement.
Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, part of the jury that selected the winners, said of her work: “It was very important in terms of saving lives, especially in the early phase of the pandemic.”
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was won last year by a Swedish scientist Svante Paabo for discoveries in human evolution that revealed secrets of Neanderthal DNA and provided important insights into our immune systems, including our susceptibility to severe COVID-19.
The award was the second in the family. Paabo’s father, Sune Bergstrom, received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1982.
The Nobel announcements continue with the Physics Prize on Tuesday, the Chemistry Prize on Wednesday and the Literature Prize on Thursday. The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the Economics Prize on October 9th.
The prizes are worth 11 million Swedish krona (US$1 million). The money comes from a bequest from the prize’s founder, the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.
The Prize money was increased by 1 million crowns this year due to the fall in the value of the Swedish currency.
Laureates are invited to receive their awards at ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. According to his wishes, the prestigious Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo, while the other award ceremony will take place in Stockholm.
Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands.