Jenkintown scientist Katalin Karikó’s work now part of a big-pharm lawsuit

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Jenkintown scientist Katalin Karikó’s vaccine work has become embroiled in a big-pharm lawsuit involving Moderna and Pfizer.

Karikó was working with her University of Pennsylvania colleague Drew Weissman when the pair discovered how to alter RNA molecules to prevent harmful overreaction by the immune system. They published the first of a series of studies in 2005, information which became the building blocks for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer have each used a version of those building blocks in their vaccines. On Friday, August 26, Moderna sued Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech on the grounds that the companies copied its technology to make a COVID-19 vaccine.

The question behind the lawsuit is: who should be given credit for discovering how to use the genetic molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) in a vaccine? For more information on the story, see the Philadelphia Inquirer’s article. Photo courtesy of the Inquirer.