May 16, 2021

Katalin Karikó, pioneer and messenger of hope

PORTRAIT – The work of this Hungarian biochemist is at the origin of messenger RNA vaccines against Covid-19. A discovery that could revolutionize the medicine of tomorrow, in particular the fight against cancer.

Katalin Karikó deserves to win the next Nobel Prize in medicine or biochemistry. It is thanks to the perseverance of this researcher, now 66 years old, that the so-called messenger RNA technology has been able to be developed in record time in the fight against coronaviruses: she is at the origin of two of the flagship vaccines against Covid-19, that of Pfizer BioNTech and that of Moderna. Katalin Karikó, who lives in the United States, Pennsylvania, was born in 1955 in Communist Hungary. She grew up in the small town of Kisújszállás, a few kilometers from Budapest, in a poor Christian family. Her father was a butcher but the young Katalin, gifted for scientific studies, moved towards biology and biochemistry, disciplines in which she excelled. She obtained a doctorate before continuing her university work at the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged. Very quickly, his interest was focused on messenger RNA

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