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Meet the Black Female Scientist Paving the Way In Race to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine

Atlanta Black Star
Monday, March 30, 2020

Dozens of researchers around the world are racing to create a vaccine to eliminate the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, a viral immunologist working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a front-runner in its development.

Corbett is a lead researcher with Dr. Barney Graham’s coronavirus team in the Vaccine Research Center in the NIAID, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. (The NIH, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is the federal government’s main biomedical research organization.)

Corbett’s team has been working in recent weeks to help test and develop an experimental vaccine invented by private biotech company Moderna Inc. Along the way, her team’s role was to grow so-called “spike” protein, a key component of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. (The NIH describes the spikes and virus thusly: “Coronaviruses are spherical and have spikes protruding from their surface, giving the particles a crown-like appearance. The spike binds to human cells, allowing the virus to gain entry.”)

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