Dr Kizzmekai Corbett is a viral immunologist by training with the National Institute of Health in Maryland in the US and she is now leading a team in charge of efforts to find a vaccine for the COVID-19.
The team started the human phase 1 trial for the coronavirus vaccine as governments across the globe are hard at work trying to minimise the impact of the widely spreading virus that has ravaged the entire globe.
The team led by Corbett this month said it was using templates 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 months 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.
Currently, the cases of the new coronavirus disease continue to mount globally, reaching nearly 700 000 on Monday, and more than 33 000 deaths.
The rapidly increasing demands of the pandemic are threatening health systems, the World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, because “even though we’re in the midst of a crisis, essential health services must continue”.