Katalin Karikó

Hungarian biochemist

Katalin Karikó (born 17 January 1955) is a Hungarian biochemist who specializes in RNA-mediated mechanisms. This technology has been licensed by BioNTech and Moderna to develop their COVID-19 vaccines.

Katalin Karikó in 2020


  • With mRna I can get my muscle cells to start producing Epo. And even if Epo degrades after two hours and mRna degrades after five days, once you have produced red blood cells they last up to three hundred days. I'm working on an anticancer idea: injecting an mRna into the tumor that prompts the cancer cells to do something that gets the attention of the immune system: release cytokines. It's like saying to the immune cells, "Come here! Come here!".
  • In the American university system you are not salaried: you have to bring the funding for your research, winning scholarships. I kept trying, but my questions were turned down. My research colleagues understood that I was working on interesting things and they subsidized me until the beautiful age of 58. I left the University of Pennsylvania after 24 years of work, without ever having had a proposal for a professorship or a permanent contract.
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