Hungary 15,000 Forint 2022. Hungary and the Covid Vaccine. Silver Proof

Hungary 15,000 Forint 2022. Hungary and the Covid Vaccine. Silver Proof

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.”

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 bronze coin of 3,000 forints is produced from an alloy of copper (75%) and nickel (25%) 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.

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 the legend, is a stylized depiction of an mRNA spiral. 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.

At the age of 30, Katalin Kariko left communist Hungary in 1985 with her husband and two year old daughter. When immigrating to the US, they smuggled in £900 in a teddy bear, money that they had received from selling their car on the black market. Her daughter, Susan Francia, won gold medals for the United States in women's eight rowing at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

mRNA transmits information on what proteins cells should produce from the DNA strands forming the genes in our cells. Based on research in recent decades, it was found that when injected into humans synthetically produced mRNA encoding viral proteins could also provide protection against various viral infections. Using the mRNA, cells produce the piece of viral protein and then in reaction to this an antibody, with which the organism is capable of destroying the virus itself.

The body’s cells identify mRNA molecules encoding viral proteins as foreign matter, but thanks to modification it has become possible for them to be safely and effectively used for therapeutic purposes.

This breakthrough set the stage for the development of other mRNA-based vaccines to fight key pathogens such as the influenza virus, the herpes virus and HIV. Furthermore, numerous new fields of application are opened up thanks to the use of mRNA methods, such as the treatment of incurable diseases with gene editing and the development of vaccines against cancer. The development and testing of the two main components of the vaccine platform (modified nucleoside mRNA and the lipid nanoparticle vector) stemmed from decades of dedicated research work.

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