As mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are deployed to protect hundreds of millions of people across the world from the deadly global pandemic, the University of Pennsylvania scientists whose research breakthroughs laid the foundation for swift vaccine development have been awarded the 2021 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Here, mRNA vaccine pioneers Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, and Katalin Karikó, PhD, share the story behind their development of this groundbreaking technology, and what it means for the future of medicine.
The Biden administration announced that Americans who have been fully vaccinated with a two-dose regimen against Covid-19 should receive a booster, citing the threat from the highly contagious Delta variant. WSJ breaks down what you need to know. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters
With so many myths about COVID-19 vaccines regarding their impact on our health, many people don’t know what to believe. In our fact check, find out what you need to know about the mRNA vaccines — as we expose the myths and reveal the facts.
The dream of mRNA persevered in part because its core principle was tantalizingly simple, even beautiful: The world’s most powerful drug factory might be inside all of us.
Like so many breakthroughs, this apparent overnight success was many decades in the making. More than 40 years had passed between the 1970s, when a Hungarian scientist pioneered early mRNA research, and the day the first authorized mRNA vaccine was administered in the United States, on December 14, 2020. In the interim, the idea’s long road to viability nearly destroyed several careers and almost bankrupted several companies.
There are all sorts of different vaccines but many of them share specific types of ingredients. Josh Toussaint-Strauss talks to Professor Adam Finn to find out what is in most conventional vaccines, as well as what they do to our bodies when we take them – and why the mRNA Covid jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna work differently.
Vaccines are about to change the world…again. mRNA Vaccines are currently being used to battle COVID-19, and have the potential to eradicate diseases like HIV, herpes, sickle cell anemia, and even cancer. Learn how the vaccines work and where the technology could be headed in this explainer video.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 use the mRNA technology developed at Penn by infectious disease expert Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, along with longtime research collaborator Katalin Karikó, PhD, an adjunct associate professor. Dr. Weissman has been studying mRNA vaccines for decades. This technology could change the way future vaccines are made to prevent countless other diseases.