mRNA vaccine researchers win Vietnam’s 3 million USD prize

(VOVWORLD) - Three foreign scientists were given 3 million USD by an international award founded in Vietnam to honor scientific achievements worldwide.
mRNA vaccine researchers win Vietnam’s 3 million USD prize - ảnh 1Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (third from left) presents VinFuture Grand Prize to three mRNA researchers, January 20, 2022. 

Hungarian-American Professor Katalin Kariko, US Professor Drew Weissman, and Canadian Professor Pieter Rutter Cullis won the VinFuture Grand Prize for their contributions to the development of the mRNA vaccine technology.

The annual VinFuture Prize, managed by the VinFuture Foundation, which was set up by Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong and his wife, is a global award to honor breakthrough scientific research and technological innovation.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh spoke at the award ceremony: “Vietnam prioritizes the development of science and technology to achieve strategic breakthrough for socio-economic development. The Vietnamese State is stepping up the creation of mechanisms and policies to make science and technology a driving force for a powerful and wealthy Vietnam. This also reflects Vietnam’s sense of responsibility toward the international community.”

The ceremony on Thursday also awarded 3 special VinFuture Prizes of 500,000 USD each.

US scientist Zhenan Bao was awarded a prize dedicated to female innovators for her research on biodegradable "e-skins" capable of stretching and healing like normal skin.

US Professor Omar Mwannes Yachi was honored with a prize for outstanding achievement in an emerging field for his discovery of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

And a prize for innovators from a developing country went to a pair of scientists from South Africa, Professor Quaraisha Abdool Karim and Professor Salim Abdool Karim, for their research on the Tenofovir gel to prevent HIV infection.

In the VinFuture Prize’s first season, the organising board received over 1,200 entries from 60 countries, far exceeding the expectations for a brand new prize.