HBO is developing a limited series, “The First Shots,” about the race to develop coronavirus vaccines in 2020. Among the scientist portrayed is Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó, her alma mater, the Szeged Science University (SZTE), announced.
Karikó will be played by Emmy and Golden Globe winner American actress Sarah Paulson.
Karikó (66), born in the central Hungarian town of Szolnok in 1955, studied biology at the Szeged University and received her PhD in biochemistry there in 1983. After being fired from the Szeged Biological Research Center in southern Hungary in 1985, she left for the United States, where she became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
In 2012, Karikó and Drew Weissman, an immunologist at the same university, received a patent for the use of several modified nucleosides to reduce the antiviral immune response to mRNA.
The series is based on American journalist Brendan Borrell’s book, “The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine.”
The series will also feature U.S. scientists Kizzmekia Corbett and Sarah Gilbert, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Trump will be played by U.S. actor Jared Leto and the series’ executive producer is Adam McKay.