From wild idea to COVID vaccine – meet the mRNA pioneer who could win a Nobel Prize (REPEAT) – Science Friction – archyde

The Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed, tested and tried at an unprecedented pace – in less than a year – and with exceptional results.

MRNA vaccines have never been approved for use in humans – until now.

Its rapid distribution to millions hides an extraordinary story – decades of persistence, devotion to an idea and persistent pushing past skeptics and naysayers.

Meet a scientist who taught the course.

Drew Weissman and Katalin Kariko are top bets for a Nobel Prize.

How did this get to the sudden moment when mRNA was in the spotlight and is it our way out of this pandemic?


Dr. Archa Fox
Future fellow and RNA biologist
Faculty of Human and Molecular Sciences
University of Western Australia

Professor Colin Pouton
Professor of Pharmaceutical Biology
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Professor Drew Weissman
Professor of Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Further information:

The History of mRNA (STAT News, 2020)

mRNA Vaccines – A New Era in Vaccinology (Nature, 2018)

Key papers by Katalin Kariko, Drew Weissman and colleagues

For RN Summer, we’re playing some of our favorite programs from the last year or so. This program was first broadcast in February 2020.


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