SA ranked among top Aids research producers

REPORT SA ranked among top Aids research producers STAFF WRITER AHEAD of World Aids Day on December 1, a new international report by Elsevier Analytical Ser vices on the global state of HIV Aids research has identified South Africa as one of the leading research producers worldwide. UCT has also been singled out as the most influential HIV Aids research institution globally, based on the impact of its published papers. It is joined on the list by the University of the Witwatersrand According to the "HIV Aids research insights: Impacts, trends, opportunities" report, South Afri ca's research output in the field accounts for 6823 publications. The data in the report comes from Elsevier's SciVal and Scopus database and covers research pub lished between 2014 and 2018.

The report found South Africa's leading position may reflect the high priority HIV Aids research has taken in countries where the incidence rate is high and suggests strong support for research overall. The report shows that the rel ative activity in HIV Aids research is highest in four countries with a high burden from the disease: South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. Professor of Medicine at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, UCT, and the immediate past president of the International Aids Society, Linda Gail Bekker, said: "This report shows the tight relation ship between burden of disease and research publishing. "South Africa is a relatively small country but has carried a massive HIV burden and punched well above its weight in research publishing. It also shows that, like !I The African countries most impacted are producing more papers Professor Salim S Abdool Karim DIRECTOR OF CAPRISA the epidemic, the response has been global, with significant north south collaboration."

The US produced the greatest number of research publications on the topic, followed by the UK. South Africa takes third place and generates the greatest amount of research into the disease of any developing country across the world, the report found. One of the driving successes behind South Africa's output is international collaboration about 72% of the research produced by UCT and Wits involved interna tional collaborators. Professor Salim S Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA Caprisa and Caprisa Professor of Global Health at Columbia Univer sity, added: "This analysis clearly demonstrates that the African countries most impacted by the Aids epidemic are producing dis proportionately more HIV papers in relation to their country's total research publications. In particular, South Africa, which has about one fifth of the global HIV burden, is highly ranked globally for having the third highest number of HIV publications, many of which ema nate from international collabora tions and are being highly cited."