Coronavirus Research

Four facts about the COVID-19 boosters

This week, the FDA and CDC authorized boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, just a month after the agencies did the same for a Pfizer/BioNTech booster. Here’s what’s known today about these shots.

Michele W. Berger



In the News


The Atlantic

We need a better way to talk about booster shots

Paul Offit and med student Rishi Goel of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the science of booster shots. Generally speaking, a booster “gets you back up to some threshold we know is important” and is intended to restore lost immunity, said Goel.

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The Washington Post

A scientific hunch. Then silence. Until the world needed a lifesaving vaccine

Drew Weissman of the Perelman School of Medicine was profiled in a series of articles about the scientists who helped create the COVID-19 vaccines. “The person who achieves his goal is the one that has faced frustration and dealt with it, understood it, and used it to their advantage,” Weissman said.

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The Washington Post

A one-way ticket. A cash-stuffed teddy bear. A dream decades in the making

Katalin Karikó of the Perelman School of Medicine was profiled in a series of articles about the scientists who helped create the COVID-19 vaccines. “I think she should be given credit for saving the world,” said her colleague Jean Bennett. Karikó’s ideas were “so ahead of her time, she had a hard time convincing people that they would actually work,” Bennett said. “They seemed too science fiction-y to people and too challenging.”

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Penn RNA scientists win Philly’s Scott award for research used in COVID-19 vaccines

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman of the Perelman School of Medicine have been awarded Philadelphia’s 2021 John Scott Award for their research on mRNA.

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ABC News

Philadelphia doctor develops rapid COVID test with results on smartphone

A team of researchers led by Ping Wang of the Perelman School of Medicine is developing a more accurate rapid test for COVID-19 that uses smart phone cameras. “The PCR is great. It's sensitive, but at the same time it's only residing in the core laboratories,” she said. “So, you can't really do PCR at home for most settings.”

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The New York Times

Two COVID vaccine pioneers win 2021 Lasker Awards in medicine

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman of the Perelman School of Medicine received the Lasker Award for their research on mRNA, which ultimately lead to the creation of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines.

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