Toymaker debuts COVID-era Barbie modeled after British scientist
OXFORD, England - A British Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford who played a major role in developing a coronavirus vaccine has had her likeness preserved in a unique way.
Like Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor, Beyoncé, and Marilyn Monroe, Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert, an internationally renowned vaccine developer and co-founder of Vaccitech, now has a Barbie doll in her honor, CNN reports.
According to the news outlet, the famous toy maker behind Barbie, Mattel Inc., has included Gilbert among six outstanding women who have Barbies modeled in their likeness due to the major roles they've played in the global fight against COVID-19.
Those women include Amy O'Sullivan, Audrey Cruz, Chika Stacy Oriuwa, Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, and Kirby White.
O'Sullivan treated the first COVID-19 patient at Wycoff Hospital in New York, and Cruz was a frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination.
Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto, also battled systemic racism in healthcare.
Goes de Jesus is a Brazilian biomedical researcher who led sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in her country, and White is an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers during the pandemic.
Now, the 59-year-old co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine joins the five women mentioned above in receiving an honorary "role model" doll.
Gilbert's Barbie has her long auburn hair, black glasses, and wears a navy blue pantsuit with a white blouse.
During an interview with Mattel, the scientist insinuated that she's still surprised to see a Barbie in her likeness.
Gilbert added, "I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science."
In addition to creating the doll, Mattel will present a nonprofit organization of Gilbert's choosing with a financial donation. Gilbert selected WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), which is dedicated to inspiring girls to consider a career in STEM.
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