A vaccine veteran steps away from the NIH, looking out toward the world

In early January 2020, most of the world hadn’t yet awakened to the fact that life was soon to change profoundly. But Barney Graham saw a possible need coming, and set out to fill it.

Graham was deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center and chief of the viral pathogenesis laboratory. Mere days after Chinese scientists posted to an international database the genetic sequence of a new, as yet unnamed coronavirus that was causing a fast-expanding outbreak in Wuhan, Graham and his colleague Kizzmekia Corbett had designed the structure for a vaccine that later became the prototype for Moderna’s Covid-19 shot and laid the foundation for Covid vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, and others.

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