Hungarian scientist and mRNA pioneer Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman won this year’s “Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research A Symbol of Innovation and Achievement.” Karikó and Weissman have already won several awards together.
According to the press release, “Johnson & Johnson celebrates COVID-19 vaccine science superheroes.”
“The duo were honored for their foundational work that enabled the use of messenger RNA in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, and holds tremendous promise for development of future vaccines and therapeutics,”
it says about the winners. Karikó and Weissman were selected as the 2021 winners by an independent committee of scientists. 19 scientists have already received the Dr. Paul Janssen Award since 2004, five of them went on to win the Nobel Prize. Karikó has already been mentioned as a possible Nobel Prize winner as she has won several awards that Nobel laureates also received.
“Dr. Paul Janssen- or Dr. Paul as he was known throughout the global scientific community- was an exceptionally gifted and passionate scientist who revolutionized modern medicine and inspired a new generation of researchers.
In 2004, Johnson & Johnson created the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research to extend his legacy by honoring the work of an active scientist in academia, industry, or a scientific institute who has made a significant, transformational contribution toward the improvement of public health.”
“It is a great honor to recognize the work of researchers like Dr. Karikó and Dr. Weissman, and all of the COVID-19 vaccine science superheroes who embody the same curiosity, perseverance, and commitment to improving human health as Dr. Paul Janssen. They persevered in the face of so many obstacles along their science journey, and today their work is helping save millions of lives all over the world,” Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson said.
Karikó also made sure to mention the work of other scientists. “While I am accepting the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, I reflect on my humble beginning, the support of my family, teachers, mentors, and colleagues who helped me on my journey. I think about all those hard-working fellow scientists who are so passionate about their work and immensely contributed to the success of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.”
Featured image via Tibor Rosta/MTI