GAITHERSBURG, MD. (WJZ) — Over 3,000 people have died worldwide from the coronavirus and 90,000 have been infected.
March is Women’s History Month and an all-female group of scientists in Montgomery County are working on a breakthrough on a vaccine. They’re from the Novavax Lab in Gaithersburg.
Nationwide, scientists are working around the clock to find a vaccine for the virus that’s raising concerns including in Maryland.
“That’s really encouraging to see that women brought the vaccine in the market so that’s awesome.” said Nita Patel, director of vaccine development at Novavax.
Nita Patel leads the female team on a quest to make a vaccine available for the thousands who’ve been infected, WJLA spoke with them last week.
“I think in science, it’s more common for women to be in a lab than the guys.” Patel said.
The coronavirus is believed to have originated in China and is quickly spreading- killing two over the weekend in the U.S. with four more as of Monday afternoon.
These women have a sense of urgency with the possible vaccine’s timetable being a year to 18 months.
“Our goal is to show the vaccine could work, it’s safe and try to make literally billions of doses.” said Dr. Gregory Mark Glenn, president of research at Novavax.
A study for the Unesco Institute for Statistics said less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women. Despite the growing demand on women in science, their influence on policymaking is limited. In a year to 18 months, that could all change thanks to the great women in Maryland.
Novavax is in phase two of development for the vaccine, which means they’re being tested on animals. If they get that right, there may be two to three phases of human trials.