COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) have proven to be safe and very effective in the fi ght against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, playing a key role in containing and overcoming the global pandemic. Cooperation between many scientists and researchers was needed for the breakthroughs that paved the way for the development of mRNA-based vaccines. Two Hungarian researchers stand out among them. Katalin Karikó was responsible for making it safe to introduce the mRNA molecules into an organism, while Norbert Pardi fi gured out how to solve the problem of introducing mRNA into an organism and overcome the instability by packaging it in a lipid nanoparticle. This breakthrough set the stage for the development of other mRNA-based vaccines to fight key pathogens such as the infl uenza virus, the herpes virus and HIV. Furthermore, numerous new fi elds of application are opened up thanks to the use of mRNA methods, such as the treatment of incurable diseases with gene editing and the development of vaccines against cancer. The development and testing of the two main components of the vaccine platform (modifi ed nucleoside mRNA and the lipid nanoparticle vector) stemmed from decades of dedicated research work.
In order to achieve this, the RNA is packaged in a fat molecule, a so-called lipid nanoparticle. The legend “nukleozid-módosított mRNS lipid nanopartikula” (modified nucleoside mRNA lipid nanoparticle) is found below them. Below the legend, there is a stylised depiction of an mRNA spiral, with the master mark of the coin’s designer, András Szilos, below that. The back edge of the coin shows the names of the scientists who were instrumental in the research on mRNA-based vaccines, “KARIKÓ KATALIN”, “IAN MACLACHLAN”, “PARDI NORBERT”, and, “DREW WEISSMAN” in a clockwise direction, separated by dots.”