The 2023 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman on Monday for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
Thomas Perlmann, the secretary of the medicine committee, presented the award.
The Nobel Committee said that the findings of Weissman and Kariko ‘fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system’.
“They have contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times. The vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented severe disease in many more,” the Nobel Committee said.
The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is one of the most prestigious awards. It was established by the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist who invented dynamite, to honour those people who have made outstanding contributions in the field of medical science.
The first Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 1901 to Emil von Behring for his pioneering work on serum therapy for diphtheria. Behring’s work laid the foundation for the development of vaccines and immunotherapy.
Frederick Banting, renowned for his discovery of insulin, holds the distinction of being the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, achieving this honour at the age of 32. His groundbreaking work in the field of diabetes management helped improved the lives of millions of individuals who suffered from this autoimmune disease.
Svante Pääbo, received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2022, for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.
The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is one of the six Nobel Prizes established in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Nobel Prize for Physics will be awarded on Tuesday, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry will be awarded on Wednesday, the Nobel Prize for Literature will be awarded on Thursday, followed by the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and Nobel Prize for Economics on Monday.
The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded every year to individuals and teams who have made significant contributions in the field of medicine by making groundbreaking discoveries, innovative treatments or by revealing previously unknown insights into how the human body works.