Top Indian-Origin Virologist, Dr Gita Ramjee, Dies Of Coronavirus

Grant Boone
April 3, 2020

Gita Ramjee, a virologist of Indian origin, has died of the coronavirus in South Africa, PTI reported on Tuesday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family", said Gray.

According to the SA Medical Research Council, Ramjee's KwaZulu-Natal-based team hosts five of 20 HIV Vaccine Trials Network sites across the country, as a part of a global scientific journey to find an effective HIV vaccine.

Tributes and condolence messages have been pouring in from across the globe where her work affected millions.

Ms Ramjee is globally recognized for her ground-breaking research in the field of HIV prevention technologies for women.

Ramjee received worldwide recognition for her efforts and contribution to HIV prevention among women.

Until her death professor Gita RamjeeShe was chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute. He also announced that the total number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 1 353.

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Health officials also encouraged people to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth without washing their hands. Masks are also advised for infected people when they are in public, according to the World Health Organization.

LSHTM director Peter Piot says in the statement that he is "deeply saddened" to hear of her death. I have tremendous respect for her contribution and her passion to find solutions for women in our country.

She led the HIV Pathogens Research Unit's mission in uncovering the factors contributing to HIV infection vulnerability through extensive collaborations and prolific grant income generation of over R1bn in her tenure at the SAMRC.

Two years ago, she was internationally recognized for her expertise in the field of microbicide research, including receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for HIV Prevention and honored with the Outstanding Female Scientist award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships for work in finding new HIV prevention methods. Ramjee firmly believed in health as a fundamental human right. She was an honorary professor at the Central University of Tamil Nadu in India, as well as at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Out thoughts during this hard time are with her family and the many people her life and work touched".

Ramjee also published more than 200 research articles. In 1980, she obtained a degree in chemistry and physiology from the University of Sunderland in northeast England, and then relocated again, this time to South Africa with her husband in 1981.

She held the position of Chief Specialist Scientist at the Aurum Institute, where she worked to improve the health of people and communities through HIV prevention, research and innovation.

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