The New York TimesThe New York Times

Kati Kariko helped shield the world from the coronavirus

By Gina Kolata

08 Apr 2021 · 9 min read

She grew up in Hungary, daughter of a butcher. She decided she wanted to be a scientist, although she had never met one. She moved to the United States in her 20s but for decades never found a permanent position, instead clinging to the fringes of academia.

Now Katalin Kariko, 66, known to colleagues as Kati, has emerged as one of the heroes of COVID-19 vaccine development. Her work, with her close collaborator, Dr. Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania, laid the foundation for the stunningly successful vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

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