|WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs (P4AD), in response to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
“Patients For Affordable Drugs congratulates Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman who, more than 15 years ago, discovered a way to modify mRNA which led to its safe and effective use in vaccines against COVID-19. It was their dedicated work funded by taxpayer grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that played the pivotal role in paving the way for rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, saving tens of millions of lives.
“We also salute the NIH for funding that pivotal research when drug companies declined to invest. NIH grants AI060505, AI50484, and DE14825 funded the seminal work that led to this life-saving discovery.
“It was only after publication of that key research that Moderna, BioNTech/Pfizer took an interest and began work on the technology. The foundational work by Karikó, Weissman with the support of NIH enabled the mRNA technology to be ready for development in record time when COVID-19 attacked the world in 2020.
“Nobody should be paying the unjustifiably high prices set by the manufacturers and no one should buy into the myth that drug companies were the heroes in this global crisis. The vaccines were publicly-funded. The facts demand lower prices in the U.S. and around the world.
“The facts also demand that we protect and increase the budget for NIH whose funding has played a role in 354 of 356 drugs approved by the FDA from 2010-2019.”