Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett Helped Unlock the Science of the COVID-19 Vaccine

A photograph of Kizzmekia Corbett. She is a black woman with high, parted hair, wearing a bright yellow dress and a white lab coat. She is leaning against a desk in an office.

On January 11, 2020 Chinese scientists posted the genetic sequence for SARS-CoV-2 on the Internet. The next day a team of CDC virologists began designing the genetic sequence for the vaccine. On the 13th they completed their design and e-mailed it to Moderna, who, in six weeks, began human trials. Kizzmekia Corbett was part of the CDC design team. That they could produce a vaccine so quickly was due in part to Corbett having dedicated years to the study of Coronaviruses. Read a recent New York Times profile of Dr. Corbett (subscription required). If you don’t have access to the New York Times, you can read the Wikipedia article on Dr. Corbett.