N.C. scientist leading COVID-19 vaccine efforts named to 2021 TIME100 Next list

N.C. scientist leading COVID-19 vaccine efforts named to 2021 TIME100 Next list
Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looks on as President Joe Biden visits the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the NIH, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. (Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A scientist from Hillsborough, North Carolina who is making a big difference in the fight against COVID-19 has been named to the 2021 TIME100 Next list.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, 34, has widespread recognition by health leaders as someone who played an instrumental role in the development of the Moderna Vaccine and the Eli Lilly therapeutic monoclonal antibody.

She is the scientific lead of the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

In the TIME Magazine story, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, wrote that Dr. Corbett “is widely recognized in the immunology community as a rising star.”

Dr. Fauci says for the past six years, Dr. Corbett has focused on coronavirus biology and vaccine development, and that her work will have “a substantial impact on ending the worst respiratory-disease pandemic in more than 100 years.”

“We have taken a lot of the knowledge that we have gained over the last six years and applied it to a fairly revolutionary vaccine platform in collaboration with Moderna,” Corbett told CBS News.

In March 2020, Corbett walked then President Donald Trump through research at the National Institutes of Health. Two weeks after the tour, Corbett and her team started the first stage of clinical trials. The distribution of the Moderna vaccine came about within 10 months.

“The vaccine teaches the body how to fend off a virus, because it teaches the body, how to look for the virus by basically just showing the body the spike protein of the virus,” Corbett explained to CBS News. “The body then says, oh, we’ve seen this protein before. Let’s go fight against it. That’s how it works.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper tweeted about Dr. Corbett’s naming to the TIME100 Next list.

“This recognition from TIME and Dr. Fauci is well-deserved. Dr. Corbett’s groundbreaking work on the Moderna vaccine is helping us beat this pandemic, and we’re proud to call her a North Carolinian,” Gov. Cooper wrote.

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