As the number of fallen victims of COVID-19 in the United States continues to rise, a team of scientists led by Kizzmekia Corbett is currently working round the clock to develop a vaccine that will save millions of lives. 

Fighting COVID-19

Corbett is a research fellow at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She and her team have already started the first stage of clinical trials of the vaccine that will help the world fight against the coronavirus.

This was first reported by The New York Times.

"There was, and is, already a fair amount of pressure. A lot of people are banking on us or feel that we have a product that could, at least, be part of the answer this world needs," Corbett told NBC News.

The young scientist added that talking about their work in public takes a lot of courage, too. She and her team feel the great need for the vaccine and they want to make it happen. 

"And, well, whew, just saying that out loud is not easy," Corbett shared.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci during his interview with NBC News, the trials for the COVID-19 began in March. He described that the process happened at record speed. It took the team only about two months to get the trials started, which is comparably much faster as it took 20 months to get the SARS vaccine to trials in 2003.

If successful, the team expects the vaccine to be ready for patients in early to mid-2021. 

A Brilliant Young Mind

Kizzmekia Corbett started her journey with a full scholarship to study at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she took sociology and biology as her majors. 

According to NBC News, this superstar scientist earned her doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 2014. Later that same year, Corbett joined the Vaccine Research Center of the NIH as a postdoctoral fellow. 

"[She's] a really quite outstanding, hard-working scientist," Ralph Baric, a UNC professor told NBC News. He is currently working with Corbett in developing a vaccine to fight the novel coronavirus

"Fate has put her in a position to make a huge difference in human health, and it has made a good choice."

According to the outlet, Corbett -- who was born from a small town in North Carolina -- is giving this vaccine research all her time. She has been working on the vaccine seven days a week and barely gets three to four hours of sleep a day. 

Corbett feels that it is her duty to help save the world in whatever way she can. 

"At some point, you have to decide how much to care," she said.

Corbett added, "You understand that your work will have to be mighty so that it can do your speaking."

During her interview with "Black Enterprise," she revealed what was keeping her inspired to do her work.

"I would say that my role as a scientist is really about my passion and purpose for the world and for giving back to the world," she told the outlet.

The young scientist described herself saying, "I am Christian. I'm black. I am Southern, I'm an empath. I'm feisty, sassy, and fashionable."

The clinical trials that Corbett and her team are doing for a vaccine to fight COVID-19 is a first of its kind. According to the report by NBC, the team will have to put their vaccine to a test in three different levels before it can be made available to the public. 

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