What is Katalin Karikò's mRNA technique

Katalin Karikó is a famous biochemist of Hungarian origins, who opened the doors to mRNA vaccines produced by both Pfizer and Moderna. However, for her all this represents only the first step towards a different and better future of care: “I hope that one day every home has mRNA in the freezer to cure wounds and pain.”

Therapeutic uses of mRNA

The uses of messenger RNA were initially directed towards a potential cure for HIV. However, research had to face a race against time, when the world was forced. Dealing with Covid-19. The use of Katalin Karikò's mRNA technique against SARS-CoV-2 however, it only represents the first step.

It is all the result of several decades of scientific research, which has seen important successes and painful defeats. Behind the more than positive announcements from Pfizer and Moderna, on 9 and 16 November 2020 respectively, there was one name in particular, that of Katalin Karikò, a biochemist who had solved a crucially important problem at the time: the rejection of the use of mRNA in the HIV vaccine.

A goal achieved thanks to the inhibition of uridine, which is one of the four chemical compounds of the mRNA filaments which prompts a response against alien messenger RNA molecules modified.

A real chemical deception, with realignment thanks to pseudouridine. In this way a molecular configuration is obtained that the organism no longer recognizes as suspicious. Here's his thoughts on mRNA vaccines: “They have many advantages. They are not at risk of infection and it is not necessary to have the virus for their production. They can be easily adjusted, so as to lower immunogenicity. It also comes produced synthetically quicklywithout the use of cells and does not require viral adaptation, as in the case of the antiviral vaccine.”

To all intents and purposes we can speak of a revolutionary method, being a new therapeutic substance, which can synthesize the therapeutic or antigenic protein in a natural way. Only our imagination is the limit of how different diseases can be treated.”

A revolution rewarded

Katalin Karikó dedicated her life to a hard struggle. She is aligned against general skepticismdeveloping a gene therapy based on mRNA, i.e. a molecule capable of coding the genetic information present in our DNA.

Together with his colleagues, he carried out studies generally considered unconventional. It was said, however, that it would have been an absolute success to be able to save even just one life: “In the end we did it. It is a relief for us to know that these vaccines we have worked on have managed to save many lives from the serious effects of Covid-19.”

His work was recognized by Humanitas University, with the rector Marco Montorsi recognizing his extraordinary contribution to the development of new generations of vaccines, based on innovative mRNA technology.