Scientists Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries that enabled the development of effective vaccines against Covid-19, the award-giving body said on Monday.
The prize, among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is selected by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute medical university and also comes with 11 million Swedish crowns (about $1 million).
“The 2023 NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against Covid-19,” the body said.
The medicine prize kicks off this year’s awards with the remaining five to be unveiled in the coming days.
The prizes, first handed out in 1901, were created by Swedish dynamite inventor and wealthy businessman Alfred Nobel, and are awarded for achievements in science, literature and peace, and in later years also for economics.
The Swedish king will present the prizes at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death, followed by a lavish banquet at city hall.
Last year’s medicine prize went to Swede Svante Paabo for sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans, and for discovering a previously unknown human relative, the Denisovans.
Other past winners include Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner in 1930 for his discovery of human blood groups.