Drew Wiseman, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Katalin Carrico, a biochemist at the University of Pennsylvania and a Biontech activist. Photo: Peggy Peterson, Ben Medicine

The Lasker Prize is considered the most prestigious and prestigious award for medical research, after the Nobel Prize. The prize, awarded in three categories, often heralds the Nobel Prize. More than 90 Nobel Prize recipients have previously received a Lasker Prize.

This year’s winners have now been nominated.

The Clinical Research Award was given to immunologist Drew Wiseman, University of Pennsylvania in the USA and biochemist Catalin Carrico, University of Pennsylvania and actor at Biontech.

Their discovery of how mRNAs are modified to boost protein production paved the way for an entirely new technology — one used to develop highly efficient mRNA vaccines against covid-19 in record time.

In short, Covid vaccines come with a recipe for how our cells produce the so-called nail protein for sars-cov-2. The modified mRNA is packaged in a lipid envelope so that it can enter our cells. Once inside, the body’s machinery takes over and begins producing the protein sars-cov-2 that the immune system then learns to recognize.

The Basic Medical Research Award goes to Karl Desseroth, USA, as well as Dieter Osterhelt and Peter Hegemann, both active in Germany. They received a prize for discovering microbial photosensitive proteins that can activate or silence individual neurons, and use it to advance revolutionary optogenetics.

Former Nobel Prize-winning researcher David Baltimore, USA, has been praised for his special contributions to medical research. Received the award for his important discoveries in the fields of virology, immunology and cancer. He has also been praised for his guidance and academic leadership.

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