Lasker Award goes to mRNA vaccine researchers

This year's Lasker Clinical Award has gone to two scientists who contributed to the development of a messenger RNA vaccine against the coronavirus.

The New York-based Lasker Foundation said on Friday that Katalin Kariko, a senior vice president of German biotechnology company BioNTech, and Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania were chosen for the 2021 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

They were honored for their discovery of a new therapeutic technology based on the modification of messenger RNA. This breakthrough enabled BioNTech and US drug giant Pfizer to jointly develop the highly effective COVID-19 vaccine in a short period of time.

Lasker Awards are known to be the most prestigious medical prizes in the United States.

Many of the past recipients went on to win Nobel Prizes.

Kariko, who is from Hungary, and Weissman are counted among strong contenders for Nobel Prizes this year.