Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman are the recipients of yet another prize: they won this year’s Lasker Award for Clinical Excellence, as announced by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation.
The Lasker Foundation stated the following about Karkó and Weissman’s win in the Clinical Research category:
Fact“The 2021 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honors two scientists—Katalin Karikó (BioNTech) and Drew Weissman (University of Pennsylvania)—who discovered a new therapeutic technology based on the modification of messenger RNA. This breakthrough enabled the rapid development of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines. In addition to providing a tool for quelling a devastating pandemic, the innovation is fueling progress toward treatments and preventives for a range of different illnesses.”
In her acceptance speech, Karikó talked about her childhood in Hungary:
I was curious. My science teachers made sure I stayed curious and encouraged me to keep learning. Though I never actually saw a scientist, I decided that is what I will do.”
The Lasker Awards program was created in 1945 by Albert and Mary Lasker to shine a spotlight on fundamental biological discoveries and clinical advances that improve human health, and to draw attention to the importance of public support of science, according to the Award’s website. Lasker Awards are currently given in the categories of Basic Research, Clinical Research, Special Achievement, and Public Service.
Featured image: Tibor Rosta/MTI