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Commemorating the Discovery of Forming the Basis for mRNA Vaccines


COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) played a key role in containing and overcoming the global pandemic. International cooperation among scientists and researchers was needed for the breakthroughs that paved the way for the development of mRNA-based vaccines. Two Hungarian researchers played critical roles. Katalin Karikó was responsible for making it safe to introduce the mRNA molecules into an organism, while Norbert Pardi figured out how to solve the problem of introducing mRNA into an organism and overcome the instability by packaging it in a lipid nanoparticle.

To honor their accomplishment, the Hungarian Mint is striking a 15,000 forint silver and 3,000 forint non-ferrous commemorative coin entitled “The Hungarian discovery forming the basis for mRNA vaccines.”

The square coin is oriented as a diamond, with a stylized depiction of two modified mRNA spirals on the obverse, and the essence of the discovery, a modified nucleoside mRNA lipid nanoparticle, containing the modified mRNA spirals on the reverse. A magnification of the mRNA spirals is featured next to the lipid nanoparticle, the fat molecule in which the RNA is packaged. The legend “nukleozid-módosított mRNS lipid nanopartikula” (modified nucleoside mRNA lipid nanoparticle) is inscribed below them. Under Around the edge are the names of the scientists who were instrumental in the research, “KARIKÓ KATALIN,” “DREW WEISSMAN,” “PARDI NORBERT,” and “IAN MACLACHLAN,” in a clockwise direction, separated by dots. All but MacLachlan, who is a Canadian biotechnology scientist, are affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Each coin measures 38.61 x 38.61 mm. The silver coin with a face value of 15,000 forints is struck in. .925 fine silver and weighs 31.46 grams. It sells for $83.75. The copper-nickel coin of 3,000 forints is produced from an alloy of copper (75 percent) and nickel (25 percent) and weighs 28.5 grams. It is $22.95. The mintage is limited to 10,000 pieces for the silver and 15,000 for the copper-nickel.

To order, or for more information on these and other coins of Hungary, contact the Hungarian Mint's North American Representative at P.O. Box 399, Williston, VT 05495. Toll-free 1-800-421-1866. Fax 802-536-4787. Email: or click on the Hungarian flag at for secure website ordering.