If the world will find one effective vaccine against covid-19, it will be thanks to a woman. This is demonstrated by the fact that the three major projects currently in the human experimentation phase recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) are led by scientists. The Chinese Chen Wei, the British Sarah Gilbert and the American Kizzmekia Corbett compete to be the mother of the vaccine against this pandemic that has caused devastating effects on health and the world economy.
The three possible future Nobel laureates have fought hard to rise to the top of immunological research, and their work is now under the spotlight of global hopes. Her studies, linked to different organizations and with the support of leading pharmaceutical companies, have now gone to phase three and are being tested in humans.
Chen Wei, the great Chinese hope
Chen Wei, which they nickname the ‘Terminator’ of viruses, is the most mediatic. Epidemiologist and general of the Chinese Army, He is 54 years old and became known during the SARS epidemic of 2003, thanks to a development of his that saved thousands of lives among the military: a spray gel that prevented people from contracting the disease. Since then, it is the head of China’s fight against viruses and it has also fought against Ebola and anthrax.
Known for its rigor and dedication to work, it is an exception in an armored country where it is difficult to conduct research outside of official channels.
The team he leads has already begun to test a vaccine in humans, in this case, among Chinese military personnel with the pharmaceutical company CanSino, although it has remained in Phase 2, according to the WHO. Chen Wei signs the study on its results as the director of a long list of scientists.
Other Chinese pharmaceutical companies, such as SinoPharm or Sinovac, are testing their products across borders. SinoPharm in the UAE with a local company, and Sinovac, in Brazil. The last two studies have been recognized by the WHO.
Kizzmekia Colbert, the African American Mirror
Twenty years younger and African-American, she is the head of the scientific team of the United States Government that leads the search for the vaccine for covid-19 with the pharmaceutical company Moderna. Kizzmekia Corbett, born in a rural North Carolina town as the eldest of seven siblings and a name inspired by the ‘Roots’ series, received a BA in Biology and Sociology from the University of Maryland thanks to various scholarships, and began her scientific career studying the consequences of dengue, a hemorrhagic fever, on the ground in Sri Lanka.
Also involved in SARS and MERS, she has always worked from the field of biology and was the discoverer of the role of protein S in the immune response to the RNA of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus.
The ‘doctor Kizzy’, as she calls herself on Twitter, where she gathers more than 48,000 followers and exhibits a very ‘millennial’ sense of humor that is able to present her scientific achievements with a Kim Kardashian meme. She has become the role model for organizations in favor of the advancement of African American young women, whom she always tries to inspire to remember who they are and where they want to go.
Praised and elevated to stardom by a tweet from Kamala Harris, the brand-new Democratic candidate for the US vice presidency boasts of her father’s teaching to “go where love is,” to justify her volunteering to help with COVID-19. 19. Very religious, she explained that one of her concerns these days was how to organize an authentic southern funeral for her aunt, who died of the virus, without putting the rest of the family at risk.
Sarah Gilbert, European tenacity
British and red-haired, 58 years old, and very discreet, Dr. Gilbert has been a candidate for the Nobel Prize for years because she is the author of the universal flu vaccine, which does not need to be altered every year because it stimulates the immune system against seasonal flu .
A biologist and biochemist, she has worked with one foot in the British pharmaceutical industry, where she started a small company, and with the other at the University of Oxford, where she is a professor and principal investigator and leads a team of 300 researchers.
He began studying malaria and has also dealt with MERS, Ebola and hepatitis B, and his studies for more than a decade have focused on the role of T cells, which, if correctly stimulated, do not require an immune response from the body to stop covid-19, he maintains.
Gilbert’s children, triplets, have tested the vaccine from the team led by their mother
Her husband, like Chen’s, gave up his professional career to care for their children, triplets. And the boys, biochemistry students, now help their mother by testing the covid-19 vaccine. One that, like the flu, does not prevent the disease, but does greatly reduce its symptoms so that the patient does not require hospitalization.
And it is that she is so sure that her product works and that it is so necessary, that she has promised the British deputies that she could have it ready this autumn. So far, her children are fine.