Dr. Sikhulile Moyo has been named to TIME100 lists of the world’s 100 most influential people for 2022. Dr. Moyo is the Director at the Research Laboratory at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP), a 1996 collaboration for health training and research between the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Government of Botswana

The B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 variant, dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization, was discovered by Dr. Moyo  (BHP) and his associate Professor Tulio de Oliviera (Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal).   Omicron as well as its subvariants have emerged as the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants in the world, exacerbating COVID-19.

“This discovery demonstrates the potential to leverage existing local human and infrastructure capacity to participate in cutting-edge scientific pursuits for the benefit of local, regional, and global scientific public health advances,” said BHP CEO Dr. Joseph Makhema.

“This honour for one of our own is interpreted as a vote of confidence in the calibre of scientific expertise available in our country. It demonstrates that Botswana is one of a small number of countries that have developed the scientific knowledge and infrastructure required to assist us and the rest of the world in responding to current and future health challenges.” The announcement was made by Ms Grace Muzila, Permanent Secretary in the Health ministry.

Dr. Moyo was the Co-Scientific Researcher for the Botswana Presidential COVID-19 Task Force, working in partnership with the National Public Health Laboratory and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) on the COVID response.

“It gives me great pleasure to see Dr Moyo’s scientific contribution recognized in this way,” said Dr. Roger Shapiro, HSPH Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Chair of the BHP Board of Directors. “He forewarned the world regarding Omicron, for which we are all grateful.

Botswana’s hardworking scientists” “Dr Moyo and colleagues’ early identification of the Omicron version is one example of the crucial significance and unwavering support of African scientists,” says Dr. Shahin Lockman (of HSPH, BHP, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital). The TIME100 list, now in its nineteenth year, acknowledges the world’s most influential people in terms of influence, achievement, and innovation.

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