US Lifetime Achievement Award for SA AIDS Researchers

US Lifetime Achievement Award for SA AIDS Researchers

Durban, South Africa (24th October 2017) - South Africa’s leading AIDS researchers, Professors Salim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, have been named the recipients of the esteemed Institute for Human Virology (IHV) Lifetime Achievement Award for exceptional public service for their contributions to the global AIDS response. The prestigious award will be presented by Dr Robert Gallo, who discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS, at the 19th International meeting of the IHV on 25th October 2017, Baltimore in the United States.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim is the Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is its Associate Scientific Director. They are both Professors in the field of Epidemiology at Columbia University, New York and are honorary academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. They are renowned for their tireless and distinguished scientific contributions in HIV prevention and treatment research that span nearly three decades.

“To me, both of these renowned individuals have made some of the greatest contributions in the history of HIV/AIDS in public health and epidemiology relevant to prevention and care of infected people,” said Dr Gallo.  “I don’t know any person or persons who have done more to advance the proper care of people with HIV infection or the prevention of HIV infection among a population.”

Their scientific contributions have focused on trying to prevent HIV in women in Africa. They were the first to demonstrate that antiretrovirals can prevent sexual transmission of HIV in 2010, when shared the results of the CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial.  The landmark CAPRISA 004 study was recognised by the journal Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010. They also discovered that tenofovir gel prevents genital herpes, the first drug shown to be effective against this disease. Currently, they are involved in developing new innovative ways of preventing HIV in women.

Commenting on the global award for distinguished public service, the Abdool Karim’s said they “were deeply appreciative of the recognition by the IHV, a centre of excellence in HIV research.” Professor Salim Abdool Karim said, “We accept the award not just on our own behalf, but in recognition of the resilience and contributions of the thousands of South Africans, who have been central, as participants in their research, to the ongoing effort to develop better and more effective HIV prevention and treatment strategies.’’

Institute for Human Virology (IHV): The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) is a leading US research center that combines the disciplines of basic science, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably HIV. A particular focus of IHV includes learning how to utilize the body's natural chemistry for its own therapeutic potential and pursuing biologically-based treatment approaches that are less toxic to the body and, often, less costly to the patient and public. IHV also pursues the development of effective therapeutic and preventative vaccines.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim is a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist who is widely recognised for his ground-breaking scientific contributions in HIV prevention and treatment. He is co-inventor on patents which have been used in several HIV vaccine candidates and his clinical research on TB-HIV treatment has shaped international guidelines on the clinical management of co-infected patients. He is Chair of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on HIV and Hepatitis. He is a Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Medicine. He serves on the Boards of Lancet-Global Health, Lancet-HIV and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is an NRF A-Rated scientist and infectious diseases epidemiologist and was the Principal Investigator of the CAPRISA 004 trial. Her research focuses on understanding the evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa; factors influencing the acquisition of HIV infection in adolescent girls; and sustainable strategies to introduce HAART in resource-constrained settings.  She is the Vice-Chairperson of the Board of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and a Member of the End AIDS Coalition (EAC). Professor Abdool Karim is a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and Scientific Advisory Board member of the US President’s Emergency Pan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

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