The new mRNA vaccines have become true beacons of hope in the Corona crisis. What hardly anyone knows is that the Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó, who was already working on the synthesis of RNA, a sister molecule of DNA, in the 1980s, is behind them. After several setbacks, the breakthrough finally followed: she found a way to smuggle mRNA molecules past the body's immune system without the natural immune defence system sounding the alarm. These synthetic molecules can be used to stimulate the production of specific proteins in the cell and thus strengthen resistance to certain pathogens.
Both the founders of Moderna and BioNTech took their technology and developed it further. Today, Prof. Dr. Katalin Karikó is Senior Vice President of BioNTech AG, teaches neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania and is considered a promising candidate for the Nobel Prize. In September 2021, together with the founders of BioNTech AG, she was awarded one of the most prestigious medical prizes, the Paul Ehrlich Prize, and was included in Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people.
Introduction: Prof. Dr. Matthias W. Hentze, Director EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), Heidelberg
In the framework of the International Science Festival - Geist Heidelberg
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The woman behind the new vaccine
Geist Heidelberg Lecture
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