The American awards are considered the second best in the world in the field of medical research, after the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This is the winner this year in the three categories:
The Lasker-Debakey Prize for Clinical Research is awarded to immunologist Drew Wiseman, of the University of Pennsylvania in the US, biochemist Catalin Carrico, also of the University of Pennsylvania, and the pharmaceutical company Biontech in Germany. They are important researchers behind mRNA technology and their work has been instrumental in obtaining effective mRNA vaccines against covid-19 in record time.
Using mRNA technology, it is possible to produce a vaccine faster than traditional methods. Simply explained, an mRNA molecule is inserted into the body through a small lipid bubble, and then the molecule acts as a blueprint for a protein that is unique to a particular virus.
Recently, Drew Wiseman and Katalin Carrico also received a Breakthrough Award for their research.
This year, the Albert Lasker Prize for Basic Research went to Dieter Osterhelt, Germany, Karl Desiroth, USA, and Peter Hegemann, Germany, for the discovery of light-sensitive microbial proteins such as used in optogenetics.
The Lasker Koshland Prize for Special Achievement in the Medical Sciences is awarded to American researcher and former Nobel Laureate David Baltimore. He has been praised for his important discoveries in virology, immunology, and cancer as well as for his academic mentorship and leadership.
The awards were announced on September 24 by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in New York. The jury also took into account the nominations received last year, as last year’s Lasker Prize distribution was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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