There’s no better way to end women’s history month than with news of a Black female scientist doing exceptional work.
Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett is leading the fight to find a vaccine for COVID-19. As the current health pandemic continues to cause death and disruption, Corbett, a viral immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, and a group of other scientists have begun clinical trials. Corbett cites McLellan Labs as co-inventors.
According to Because Of Them We Can, a team of researchers began working toward finding a vaccine in January when they initially learned the virus was similar to the flu. Now, the vaccine is in its first trial stage at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.
As explained in the study, the investigational vaccine, mRNA-1273, directs the body’s cells to express a protein that is hoped to trigger an immune response. It has shown promise in animals and is now being tested on its first human subjects, who will receive the vaccine over two rounds, 28 days apart.
As a result, this phase will allow experimenting with the dosage—what amount is safe for humans and how much can trigger an immune response in participants.
Currently, there is no existing approved vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, which is the infection that causes COVID-19. Therefore, any strides Corbett and her team makes is a much-needed breakthrough to combat this crisis.
“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”
“I could cry,” Corbett wrote on Twitter to express the first vaccine trial. “Our vaccine is really into human beings, y’all!!”
I could just cry. Our vaccine is really into human beings, y’all!!! cc: @McLellan_Lab https://t.co/v1LOu7mvSD
— KizzyPhD (@KizzyPhD) March 29, 2020
The gifted scientist has been praised by several public figures online, including educator Michael Eric Dyson and actress Tika Sumpter.
It is uttety refreshing that the highly gifted (black female) scientist @KizzyPhD is leading the way in the fight to find a vaccine for #COVID19. The fact of her religious belief is a bonus of sorts to her unimpeachable scientific quest to move beyond political myths to facts!🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/0CeOnXAL3X
— Michael Eric Dyson (@MichaelEDyson) March 28, 2020
In a video released by the NIAID, Corbett explains the novel coronavirus and discusses efforts to develop a vaccine against it.
“What we know is that this virus is in the same family of viruses like SARS,” she said. “Every day we’re learning more. Obviously, because this is a novel virus and even though we’ve been to this rodeo before with MERS and SARS, there are still so many unknowns.”
Watch the video below: