Seven scientists from various countries whose contributions made it possible to rapidly develop several vaccines against him COVID-19 They were awarded this wednesday in Spain with the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research.
With their long trajectories in basic research, they have led to innovative applications such as obtaining, in an extraordinarily short time, effective vaccines to fight the covid-19 pandemic, “the jury wrote in their minutes.
Between the awarded are the Turkish Özlem Türeci Y Ugur Sahin, the founders of german laboratory BioNTech, specialized in Messenger RNA, and that together with the US laboratory Pfizer developed the vaccine what was world pioneer in front of coronavirus.
Also recognized were Hungarian-born biochemist Katalin Kariko and her principal collaborator, American immunologist Drew Weissman, pioneers in investigating “the therapeutic possibilities of RNA,” paving the way for both Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the statement said. of the Princess of Asturias Foundation.
Precisely the founder of the modern biotechnology company, the Canadian biologist Derrick Rossi, was included among the winners, for “exploiting his discovery about the ability to transform and reprogram pluripotent stem cells thanks to RNA-based technologies.”
The jury, chaired by physicist Pedro Miguel Echenique, equally distinguished the British Sarah Gilbert, a researcher at the University of Oxford, who led the development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as the American immunologist Philip Felgner, whose findings ” led to the development of DNA vaccines. “
Together, these researchers gave an extraordinary demonstration of the ability of science to cope with a pandemic that changed daily life and the world economy, “added the Princess of Asturias Foundation.
The awards, instituted in 1981, are endowed with 50 thousand euros (about 60 thousand dollars) and a sculpture designed by the late Catalan artist Joan Miró.
The awards are named after the heir to the throne of Spain, Princess Leonor, and are presented by the kings in October in a solemn ceremony in Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region.