Glauco Arbix celebrates the stubbornness and determination of Katalin Carrico, who was unable to publish articles or obtain funding for her research, but whose work is credited with developing the Covid vaccine.
Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissmann, of Hungarian descent, who is German, were awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries that led to the development of vaccines called messenger RNA. They were developed during the pandemic and have saved millions and millions of lives across the planet. It is always good to remember that vaccines of this type, which are very advanced, are always the result of the work of many people. Therefore, in modern science, discovery is not made by a single star alone. Even knowing this, it is possible that few scientists have contributed as much to saving as many lives as Carrico and Weissman in all of human history.
We have a lot to celebrate, but it’s also good to remember that the awards sent a warning signal. Few medical researches were more important than the work done by these two researchers, but few people know that Carrico’s early work was rejected for publication, and by highly respected journals such as nature, Sciences the cell Furthermore, Carrico was demoted from her research role at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the best universities in the world.
The reason: few believed in the validity of her discoveries, she could not publish her research, she was rejected by journals, she had no funding, and this is important, we always have to think about the way science is organized to appreciate the world. The world, science and new discoveries. In the case of Carrico and Weissman, humanity almost lost their discoveries. They struggled hard, had to leave university, founded a company, obtained patents, and sold them very cheaply. Their patents did not reach $300,000, which later became, They were later licensed for hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.
She was even expelled from the University of Pennsylvania and forced to retire. He had to emigrate to Germany, where he went to work in Weizmann’s laboratory. It’s a life that sounds like a movie script, but it was the real life of a world-changing discovery that risked never being born […] True history shows that Carrico’s stubbornness and determination saved millions upon millions of lives.
It is a Nobel Prize that celebrates the extraordinary path of some individuals, but this year it also celebrated a cautionary tale: how many researchers were unable to continue their discoveries due to lack of support, how many ideas died before they were born, how many ideas died before they were born, how many How many ideas died before they were born, how many brilliant scientists silently changed their careers due to lack of suitable conditions and lack of funding, due to interruption of programs, lack of infrastructure and laboratories. […] Carrico’s conviction, and his work remaining obscure for decades, is a beautiful story of the triumph of the human spirit.
Column Innovation Observatorywith Professor Glauco Arbex, is broadcast every two weeks, every Tuesday at 8 a.m., on Rádio USP (São Paulo 93.7; Ribeirão Preto 107.9) and also on Youtubeproduced by Rádio USP, Jornal da USP and TV USP.
“Hardcore beer fanatic. Falls down a lot. Professional coffee fan. Music ninja.”