• Sophia Denaro

Inspirational Women on the Frontline

The coronavirus has impacted our lives in many different ways. From what I have seen on social media and online, people all over the world are making an effort to reduce the curve, stay six feet apart and help essential workers. There are many people who deserve recognition for their efforts and roles in finding an end to coronavirus, and I would like to recognize some women who have been making exceptional progress in making this world a better, safer and healthier place. I will be focusing on three inspiring women who, during this time of coronavirus, are making positive impacts: Shi Zhengli, Dr. Rinke Bos and Hanneke Schuitemaker.

Shi Zhengli, also known as “Bat Woman,” is a Chinese virologist who researches SARS-like coronavirus that focuses on the origin of bats. Zhengli is the director of the CEUD (Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and she has been part of virus-hunting expeditions in bat caves for over 16 years. Her extraordinary studies have found that subtropical provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronavirus jumping to humans from animals (especially from bats). When asked about this virus, Zhengli says, “The mission must go on, what we have uncovered is just the tip of an iceberg.” In the future, she plans on leading national projects that will systematically sample viruses in bat caves to determine a wider scope with vigorous intensity. Zhi Zhengli says, “Bat-borne coronaviruses will cause more outbreaks, we must find them before they find us.” To read more about this amazing woman and her discoveries and research about the connection of bats to coronavirus, click here.

Although historically men made up the majority of scientists in the science field, women like Hanneke Schuitemaker, Ph.D. and Dr. Rinke Bos , are shattering these statistics and forging a path for women in science. Dr. Bos is a principal scientist at Janssen and Schuitemaker, is the global head of Viral Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine and is also the Disease Area Stronghold Leader for Viral Vaccines in Hassen Vaccines and Prevention. The two women have been working together on finding a vaccine for COVID-19. To find out more of their work, watch "The Road to a Vaccine."

These women not only are on the path for finding a cure but are also an inspiration to women everywhere. To read more about their research go to: https://www.vogue.com/article/female-scientists-covid-19-vaccine.

Despite the dangers of working with such a deadly virus, all these women have been strong in the pursuit of finding out how to stop the spread of coronavirus and ultimately find a solution. These unsung heroes have been working behind the scenes and deserve more recognition for their achievements and accomplishments in this area of work and for all of the good they are doing to make a better future for the rest of us. While we continue to do our part, wearing masks and keeping our distance, take a moment out of your day to thank the many men and women who, like these three inspirational women, are on the frontline working for us.