No Nobel Prize in medicine for mRNA developers

This year's Nobel Prize in Medicine has gone to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian. The US researchers played a key role in determining exactly how nerves in the skin convert external stimuli into electrical impulses, laying the foundation for the development of more effective drugs against chronic pain and other treatments. Europe's press takes a rather sceptical view of the choice.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Fainthearted and outdated

The taz doesn't understand why the developers of the mRNA vaccine came away empty-handed:

“The mRNA vaccine is not only a genuine scientific revolution in the fight against Covid, it will also be a revolution for many other infectious diseases against which conventional vaccine concepts have so far proven ineffective or only mildly effective. ... Of course, it would have been difficult for the committee to pick out just three prize winners, which is the maximum limit. As always in modern research, many minds were involved in this success, and not just mRNA researchers, incidentally. But being so fainthearted and out of keeping with the times with this year's prize highlights once more that the Nobel Prize is a relic of the past. A pity, because it still attracts attention. And that might have boosted the vaccination rates.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

A missed opportunity - or not?

This was not the logical choice, the Aargauer Zeitung concurs:

“The invention of the mRNA vaccine has turned the tide in the fight against the pandemic - the biggest global crisis since World War II. The Nobel Prize Committee decided against the obvious choice. It missed a chance on Monday to show that science is something that concerns us all - and has tangible benefits for our lives. ... Or have we got it wrong? It cannot be entirely ruled out that the mRNA researchers will receive the prize for chemistry instead of medicine on Wednesday. The Committee is always good for a surprise.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

A better grasp of the biggest sensory organ

Tygodnik Powszechny has high hopes for the prize winners' discoveries:

“The nervous system connects us to the outside world via the sensory organs. Its organs and receptors come in a dizzying number of different forms. ... The largest sensory organ, however, is undoubtedly the skin. ... The Nobel Committee awarded the scientists for their discoveries in the field of human physiology, although they also have medical significance. ... A better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for pain and sensation paves the way for better therapies, including the treatment of chronic pain.”