The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the first full approval to a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, which uses modified mRNA technology invented and developed by scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, whose years of research in mRNA science laid a critical piece of the foundation for the largest global vaccination campaign in history.
A research partnership between Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research, and Katalin Karikó, PhD, an adjunct professor of Neurosurgery at Penn and a senior vice president at BioNTech, dating back two decades led to the development of modified mRNA technology that has been licensed as a key foundational component of the highly effective Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine being deployed worldwide.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in December 2020 for those 16 years of age or older, the age group for which the full vaccine approval applies. In May 2021, the EUA was expanded to include adolescents ages 12 to 15 and, in August, it was amended again to allow for a third dose for certain people who are immunocompromised. The vaccine remains available under EUA for these groups. Moderna Therapeutics, which was granted EUA for its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in December, also uses the same modified mRNA technology created at Penn.
We are tremendously proud to celebrate this milestone today, and to recognize its roots at Penn, where Drs. Weissman and …….