As governments look for solutions to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a doctor, is leading efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist by training with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), began her research in January 2020 when researchers first gathered knowledge of the novel COVID-19 that was similar to pneumonia.
As a doctor at the National Institute of Health in Maryland, she started intense research for a vaccine.
While vaccines usually take up to two years to develop, Dr. Corbett is leading a team in charge of efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Our (co-inventors @McLellan_Lab) COVID-19 vaccine (spike delivered by @moderna_tx's mRNA) was just injected into the 1st human in phase 1 trial, only 66 days after viral sequence release… a testament to rapid vaccine development for emerging diseases🦠💚https://t.co/2DLZsdirADLoading...
— KizzyPhD (@KizzyPhD) March 16, 2020
Dr Kizzmekia S Corbett is a senior research fellow @NIH, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Ctr (VRC). A viral immunologist by training, @KizzyPhD focuses on elucidating mechanisms of viral pathogenesis & host immunity as it pertain to vaccines. pic.twitter.com/60dpNJU7iP
— BlackWomenPhDs (@BlackWomenPhDs) March 23, 2020
The team is now using the template for the SARS vaccine since the Coronavirus comes from the same family, swapping genetic code to make it more palatable for the current virus.
Currently, Corbett and her team are already running the first human trials of the vaccine in Seattle, just 66 days after the initial viral sequence was released.
She says it’s ”a testament to rapid vaccine development for emerging diseases” in a tweet.
Volunteers will receive two doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine and will be monitored for 28 days apart in an effort to see how well the medicine reacts to humans.
Forbes reports that Phase 1 will only be tested on 45 patients but the second phase of the trial will require larger numbers.
Dr. Corbett’s research interests entail elucidating mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and host immunity as they pertain to vaccine development.
In 2008, Corbett graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and another one in Sociology.
She was also an NIH scholar and a Meyerhoff Scholar. She went on to earn her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.