Breaking Through review: Katalin Karikó’s amazing Nobel story


2TC37AB Stockholm, Sweden. 10th Dec, 2023. CORRECTION NAME Katalin Kariko is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2023 by King Carl Gustaf of Sweden during the Nobel Prize award ceremony at the Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10, 2023. Photo: Jonas Ekstromer/TT/Code 10030 Credit: TT News Agency/Alamy Live News

Katalin Karikó receiving her Nobel prize in Stockholm in 2023

TT News Agency/Alamy

Breaking Through
Katalin Karikó (Bodley Head (UK); Crown (US))

IN OCTOBER 2023, the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine went to Katalin Karikó for helping to lay the groundwork for mRNA-based covid-19 vaccines, alongside her collaborator, Drew Weissman. Yet only a few years earlier, Karikó’s career had been spoken of “in hushed tones as a cautionary tale for young scientists”.

Karikó’s story is a classic in the genre of underdogs succeeding against the odds. In her autobiography, Breaking Through:…

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