This distinguished recognition was bestowed upon them for their groundbreaking research on nucleoside modifications, which has played an instrumental role in the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. By shedding light on the interplay between mRNA and the immune system, their remarkable findings have laid a solid foundation for the exploration of novel, swifter, and more efficacious strategies for vaccination and immunity.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2023, announced on October 2nd, was awarded to Dr. Karikó and Prof. Weissman for their pioneering research on mRNA nucleoside modifications, enabling the development of effective COVID-19 vaccines. Their innovations have significantly enhanced the stability and reduced the immunogenicity of the mRNA, marking a milestone in the development of this platform as a therapeutic option for major human diseases.
Their work has not only provided a robust defense against the pandemic but also promises advancements in the development of vaccines against HIV, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and genetic diseases, potentially saving the lives of billions of people in the future.
Before their Nobel Prize acknowledgment, the 2021 VinFuture Prize had honored Dr. Karikó and Prof. Weissman, highlighting the prize’s commitment to recognizing world-changing innovations. Furthermore, the VinFuture Prize evaluates work at a broader scale, including many related discoveries to create comprehensive impacts.
Sharing the 2021 VinFuture Grand Prize with Dr. Karikó and Prof. Weissman was Professor Pieter R. Cullis (Canada), whose breakthroughs in developing lipid nanoparticles were essential for delivering mRNA vaccines. His contributions have expanded the possibilities of nucleic acid technology for preventing and treating various diseases.
Being one of the first to honor the work of Dr. Karikó and Prof. Weissman in 2021, the VinFuture Prize has demonstrated its vision of creating meaningful change in the everyday lives of millions of people by honoring transformational technological innovations. The VinFuture Prize focuses on technologies with the potential to create large-scale positive impact, contributing to the resolution of global issues.
About the VinFuture Prize: The VinFuture Foundation, established on International Solidarity Day on December 20th, 2020, is a non-profit organization co-founded by billionaire Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong and his wife, Mrs. Pham Thu Huong. The Foundation’s core activity is awarding the annual VinFuture Prize, which recognizes transformative scientific and technological innovations capable of making significant positive changes in the lives of millions of people worldwide.
The VinFuture Prize consists of four prestigious awards presented each year. The most esteemed is the VinFuture Grand Prize, valued at US$3 million, making it one of the largest annual prizes globally. Additionally, there are three Special Prizes, each valued at US$500,000, specifically dedicated to honoring female innovators, innovators from developing countries, and innovators with outstanding achievements in emerging fields.
Cover photo: PennMedicine