Robert Koch Award 2019
For Rino Rappuoli, developing a new type of vaccine has always been a matter of great personal importance. Every time when in his native Siena he passed the façade of the “New Cathedral”, which was never completed, he was reminded of the year 1348, when the Plague carried off two-thirds of the population within just three months. The technological and artistic development of the city came to an abrupt halt. “Such a thing should never happen again”, says Rappuoli, “so I decided to devote my entire life to developing vaccines.” His work has paid off. Rino Rappuoli has written medical history with a series of spectacular achievements. The “reverse vaccinology” developed by him, which works on the principle that one starts with the genome of a pathogen, rather than laboriously creating it in the laboratory, was a paradigm change.