This scientist paved the way for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

This scientist paved the way for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
University of Pennsylvania immunologist Drew Weissman poses at his home Nov. 9, 2020. He developed the messenger RNA concept behind the Pfizer vaccine that has shown early promise against COVID. - TOM GRALISH/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

PHILADELPHIA — When Drew Weissman first started injecting mice with genetic molecules called messenger RNA, it did not go well.Many of the animals became overwhelmed with harmful inflammation, and some died.But Weissman solved that problem with a bit of clever biochemistry 15 years ago, working with then-colleague Katalin Karikó at the University of Pennsylvania. Now their work forms the backbone of two vaccines for COVID-19, including the one for which dramatic early results were announced this week.The vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and the German firm BioNTech SE, where Karikó now works, appea...

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