Katalin Kariko, the Hungarian-born scientist who laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines fighting COVID-19, has been recognised in her homeland in the form of a huge mural in central Budapest.
The city’s urban designers created the portrait of Kariko, senior vice president at German company BioNTech which with Pfizer developed one of the most effective coronavirus jabs, to pay tribute to her scientific endeavours.
After 12 days of work, a painter was putting the finishing touches to her lips on the portrait on Saturday afternoon. By Monday a slogan will be added too: “The future is written by Hungarians”.
“Katalin Kariko is a true Hungarian role model, who is an example not just by helping to develop the vaccine … but also by proving to the young generation of Hungarians that as a Hungarian it is possible to achieve a very positive effect in the world,” said Gergely Boszormenyi-Nagy, founder of the company Brain Bar, who came up with the idea of a mural.
Kariko reacted to her portrait in a tweet saying “It was a surprise, a big surprise.”
Budapest residents were happy to see her smiling face on the wall of a residential building in a leafy part of the city.
“She is a fantastic character who has made huge achievements, we hope for this she will receive the highest award, the Nobel prize. We are very proud of her,” Emilia Kozma said.