Scientists’ egos are key barrier to progress, says Covid vaccine pioneer | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Scientists’ egos are key barrier to progress, says Covid vaccine pioneer

Scientists would make swifter progress in solving the world’s problems if they learned to put their egos aside and collaborate better, according to the leading researcher behind the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine.

Prof Katalin Karikó, the senior vice-president for RNA protein replacement therapies at BioNTech in Germany, endured decades of scepticism over her work and was demoted and finally kicked out of her lab while developing the technology that made the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines possible.

The vaccines Karikó helped to develop smuggle genetic material called mRNA into cells so they can churn out the coronavirus spike protein and prime the immune system to fight the disease. On Thursday, she was honoured with a $3m (£2.2m) Breakthrough prize for life sciences along with her colleague Prof Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania.

“If so many people who are in a certain field would come together in a room and forget their names, their egos, their titles, and just think, they would come up with so many solutions for so many things, but all these titles and whatever get in the way,” Karikó told the Guardian.

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