Revolutionary mRNA Research by Abington Biochemist Katalin Karikó Could Be Key to Solving Scores of Health Problems

CDC covid mRNA research
Image via CDC.

The revolutionary mRNA research by Abington biochemist Katalin Karikó and her collaborator immunologist Drew Weissman could be the key to solving scores of health problems, writes Tim Smedley for the BBC.

man and woman who won prize for mRNA research
Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman.
Images via David Maialetti and Tom Gralish, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Their work went mostly unrecognized by the wider public before the pandemic.

However, once the first COVID-19 vaccine was developed using their mRNA technology the pair found themselves under the spotlight and getting recognized with many awards, including the 2021 Lasker Award.

The future of this kind of technology holds a lot of promise.

Currently, vaccines and treatments under development include mRNA therapies for cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis, mRNA vaccine for HIV, therapies for cystic fibrosis and heart disease, and therapies for severe pulmonary diseases and asthma.

The potential also exists to mix various mRNA vaccines together to create a single health booster vaccine, which could efficiently ward off cancers and viruses at the same time.

While this is still just speculation, “you could take a whole bunch of different flavors,” said Dragony Fu, University of Rochester associate professor, “a cocktail of mRNAs that make different proteins selective for your particular need.”

Read more about the future of mRNA technology at BBC.