COVID-19 vaccine researcher with Type 1 Diabetes wins Nobel prize

COVID-19 vaccine researcher with Type 1 Diabetes wins Nobel prize

Physician and scientist Drew Weissman, who earned both an MD and a PhD at Boston University, and his research collaborator, Katalin Karikó, have won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work developing the technology that powers the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Those two vaccines are among the most widely distributed coronavirus vaccines worldwide. They are being used in more than 200 countries to help contain the spread of the deadly virus that upended global society in early 2020 and has so far killed nearly 7 million people and infected nearly 770 million.

Dr Weissman has Type 1 Diabetes for more than 50 years and seen in a photograph wearing an insulin pump on his belt while receiving his own COVID-19 vaccine shot. In an interview, Dr Weissman said he was 5 years old when he was diagnosed. He did not have a family history of Diabetes. Then, knowledge about Diabetes was meagre and blood glucose control was not very good.

He attributes having Type 1 Diabetes, in wanting to do something to help people by curing disease. Speaking about his personal experience, Dr Weissman told the interviewer he 'didn't see any noticeable effect the vaccine had on his Diabetes. There may have been small fluctuations in my blood sugars, but I wasn't really paying too close attention to notice anything more than the usual.' Dr Weismann detailed that the future of targeting Type 1 Diabetes rested in gene therapies like beta cell encapsulation and transplants.

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