Professors Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, the two American scientists who developed the technology behind messenger ribonucleic acid (Mrna) vaccines for Covid-19, were on Monday, October 2 awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. An mRNA Covid vaccine contains the genetic instructions for building one component - a protein - from the coronavirus. When this is injected into the body, human cells start producing lots of the viral protein. ALSO READ: Five things to know about Rwanda’s vaccine manufacturing ambitions The immune system recognises these as foreign so it attacks them and learns how to fight the virus, and therefore has a head-start when future infections occur. With such tech, it is claimed that you can rapidly develop a vaccine against almost anything - as long as you know the right genetic instructions to use. The technology was experimental before the pandemic, but now it is being researched for other diseases, including cancer. ALSO READ: 2020: The year of the pandemic The laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times, read a statement from the Nobel Prize committee. The two professors met in the early 1990s when they were working at the University of Pennsylvania, in the United States, when their interest in mRNA was seen as a scientific backwater. Kariko is currently a professor at Szeged University in Hungary while Weissman is working as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.