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Katalin Karikó Awarded Reichstein Medal, Nobel Prize on the Horizon?

Tamás Vaski 2021.06.21.

Katalin Karikó is the recipient of this year’s Reichstein Medal, the most prestigious Swiss award in the field of medicine. The recognition by the Swiss Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences hints at the Hungarian biochemist’s increasing odds of receiving a Nobel Prize.

Thanks to her decades of work in pioneering mRNA vaccine technology, Katalin Karikó is receiving one prestigious award after another. The well-deserved recognition is recent, however, since she did not see much support during the 80s and 90s, when colleagues even attempted to dissuade her from her goal.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Creator Presents at Academy of Science
Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Creator Presents at Academy of Science

Famous Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó was crucial in the creation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.Continue reading

Now in 2021, Karikó has received the greatest Hungarian scientific award, the Széchényi Prize, as well as the Rosenstiel Award along with Drew Weissman.

But what should be noted about the Reichstein Medal is that it has often been followed with a Nobel Prize as well. The suspicion of one for Karikó has been on the table for a while, but now her chances are becoming even more clear.

The official statement of the Swiss Academy emphasizes that “Katalin Karikó’s contributions to mRNA research and its use in vaccines and medicine are fundamental.”

Your determination in the development of this new technology did not only bring a new age to vaccinology, but it contributed to quick and mass-level immunizations, which prevented the continued spread of Covid.”

The Reichstein Medal, named after the Polish-Swiss Nobel Prize-winning chemist Tadeusz Reichstein, is awarded by the Swiss Academy to internationally recognized scientists who contributed immensely to the field of medicine through research, education, and practical applications.

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Katalin Karikó's Elementary Biology Teacher: We Knew She Was Gifted

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When handing over the award, President of the Swiss Academy Gerrit Borchard said that “the example set by Katalin Karikó proves the yield which society can benefit from following at-times lengthy academic endeavors.”

Featured photo illustration by Csilla Cseke/MTI