In August 2021, a new mural was unveiled in central Budapest. It honors the Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó, who, with her research on RNA, developed the basis for the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines. The 220 square-foot mural is titled A jövőt magyarok írják (“The future will be written by Hungary”). It was painted by artists from Színes Város, and took 11 days and 197 liters of paint to complete.
Katalin Karikó was born on January 17, 1955, in Szolnok, Hungary. She spent her childhood and school days in the town of Kisújszállás, where the family lived in a small house without running water, a refrigerator, or a television. By the time she reached eighth grade, Karikó was among the best biology students in the country. She completed her biology studies and doctorate at the University of Szeged, where she began to work on the synthesis of RNA.
Karikó emigrated with her family to the United States in 1985. She first worked at Temple University in Philadelphia and later spent a year in Washington. Since 1989 she has worked at the University of Pennsylvania, where she met immunologist Drew Weissman, with whom she researches mRNA-based medication. Since 2013, Karikó has worked with the German company BioNTech, which, together with Pfizer, developed an mRNA-based vaccine for Covid-19.
The mural was suggested by Gergely Böszörményi-Nagy, the founder of Brain Bar, an annual event in Budapest that brings together speakers and events about technology, business, politics, and lifestyle.
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The mural can be seen at all times.