Dr. Kissmekia S. Corbett and Dr. Fauci
Dr. Corbett: coronavirus tracker

From blackdoctor.org

In a December 8 Facebook Live broadcast led by BlackDoctor.org, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the audience that one of the scientists leading the development of the COVID vaccine is Dr. Kissmekia S. Corbett. Dr. Corbett, a viral immunologist, holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has been leading the research and development for the vaccine since the research was launched at the beginning of 2020 when the deadly virus was discovered.

“The very vaccine that’s one of the two that has absolutely exquisite levels, 94 to 95 percent effectiveness against clinical disease and almost 100 percent effectiveness against serious diseases, has been shown to be clearly safe,” Dr. Fauci said. “That vaccine was actually developed in my institute’s vaccine research center by a team of scientists led by Dr. Barney Graham and his close colleague, Dr. Kissmekia Corbett, or Kizzy Corbett,” Fauci noted.

The 34-year-old Dr. Corbett is one of the National Institutes of Health’s lead scientists for coronavirus research, working along with the biotech company Moderna.

The team at Moderna recently received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Pfizer BioNTech team received emergency-use authorization on December 11, and its vaccine is already being distributed.

“Dr. Corbett’s contribution to this historical moment cannot be underestimated,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, managing director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC.  “In addition to leading the Vaccine Research Center’s Coronavirus team that has played such a critical role in developing COVID vaccine candidates, she has been a centerpiece in the efforts to combat the pervasive mistrust of science and science institutions that has frustrated outreach efforts to much of the African American community.”

Dr. Tuckson explained how Corbett and other black doctors, being aware of the hesitancy of many in the black community to take the vaccine, are there to ensure its safety. “Dr. Corbett’s role within NIH, along with such luminaries as Dr. Gary Gibbons, are able to ensure the black community that there are trusted representatives at the highest levels of medical research. Furthermore, she stands as a shining role model for all children of color who seek inspiration to pursue their dreams of a career in science. We are fortunate to collaborate with her as we work to provide our community with trustworthy and accurate scientific information.”

Dr. Corbett has been a researcher for more than 10 years, and her research has included the study of SARS and MERS. “What we know is that this virus is in the same family of viruses as SARS, so it is . . . about 80 percent genetically similar to the SARS virus,” explained Dr. Corbett, who works at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Every day we are learning more and more, obviously, because this is a novel virus, and even though we’ve been to this rodeo before with MERS and SARS, there are so many unknowns.”
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