CAPRISA’s Annual Research update Awards& Strategic Planning meeting
CAPRISA hosted the annual CAPRISA research update, awards and strategic
planning meeting on 23rd-24th February at the Durban International Convention Centre.
This hybrid event brought together senior scientists, collaborators from the NICD, SAMRC,
UCT, KRISP, AHRI and key national and global partners. Delegates, service providers and ICC
staff were tested for Covid and allowed into the venue with a negative test result.
Eminent guests included Dr Sandile Buthelezi, Director General of the National Department of Health, Prof Koleka Mlisana co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Coronavirus; Prof Busisiwe Ncama, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Head, College of Health Sciences and Prof Mosa Moshabela, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research & Innovation. Ms Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director UNAIDS; Dr Joe Phaahla Minister of Health; Ms Bongiwe Ntuli Chairperson of the CAPRISA Board of Control and Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the WHO could not join the meeting in person and sent recorded messages of support.
In the photo (L-R): Candle lighting ceremony: Dr Sandile Buthelezi, Director General National Department of Health; Ms Glaudina Loots, Director Health Innovation DSI; Ms Gethwana Mahlase, Director COMOSAT; Prof Busisiwe Ncama, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Head University of KwaZulu-Natal College of Health Sciences and Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim, CAPRISA Associate Scientific Director
Speakers highlighted the notable research contributions made by CAPRISA in HIV, TB and Covid-19 research and the importance of innovation, evolving knowledge and impact on policies and human health. CAPRISA’s notable scientific contributions has left a remarkable footprint in the field of HIV, TB and Covid-19 said Minister Phaahla. Ms Byanyima reflected on ‘CAPRISA’s amazing history’ and Prof Salim Abdool Karim’s role as chair of the scientific committee of the 13th International AIDS conference, Breaking the Silence, at which over 5000 scientists signed the historic Durban Declaration affirming that HIV caused AIDS. She said Abdool Karim established CAPRISA two years later “with a specific vision and mission to address the inequities laid bare at this conference”.
The strategic planning meeting covered four sessions: HIV / COVID Vaccines and Pathogenesis; HIV / TB and COVID Treatment; Epidemiology and HIV Prevention, including bnAbs; and Mucosal Immunology with 20 presentations on new ideas. These included: FEEL: Fc Effector Evolution in (antibody) Lineages (Dr Simone Richardson); IMPACT: Immunopathogenesis of CNS TB (Dr Aida Sivro); AVERT: Artificial Intelligence-based HIV Prevention for Generation Z population: Unravelling Heterogeneity & Improving Prediction of HIV Vulnerability (Mr Marothi Letsoalo), and Recovery and Study of vaginal microbiota in BV treated patients (Dr Gugulethu Mzobe).
CAPRISA staff paid tribute to Prof Abdool Karim for his leadership and the ability to serve during a time of crisis is indeed ‘a rare attribute,’ said Prof Kogie Naidoo. “Our Director, Prof Abdool Karim, fondly known as Slim, rose to this challenge, at great personal sacrifice providing guidance and inspiration to South Africans whilst raising South Africa’s standing and stature in medical science, globally,” she said. “Well-known for his past stand on access to ARVs, he has consistently lambasted the failure of the world’s rich countries to appreciate the importance of “mutual interdependence” and “global solidarity” principles he firmly believes in. Abdool Karim presented 24 long service awards to staff for their loyalty and commitment.
In the photo: Prof Kogie Naidoo presents a special award to Prof Salim Abdool Karim on behalf of CAPRISA staff for his significant contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
(Left): Dr Nonhlanhla Yende Zuma, Head of Statistics & Data Management was the Director of Ceremonies at the research update. (L-R): CAPRISA Scientists; Front row: Dr Aida Sivro; Second Row: Dr Sharana Mahomed & Dr Lenine Liebenberg; Third Row: Profs Nesri Padayatchi & Kogie Naidoo