Medriva

Two prominent Southern African scientists are named to this year’s Time 100 Most Influential People list for the work they have done in epidemiology and genomics.

Professor Tulio de Oliveira and Dr Sikhulile Moyo received awards for their contributions to the multidisciplinary team that discovered the Covid-19 Omicron variant in November last year.

The Omicron variant rapidly became the most dominant variant of the virus internationally, driving the 4th and 5th waves in South Africa.

De Oliveira, the director of Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), has served as an advisor to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Moyo serves as the laboratory director at the Botswana Harvard Aids Institute Partnership (BHP) he has earned PhD in Medical Virology from SU in 2016.

Apple’s Tim Cook, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oprah Winfrey, Adele, and  Joe Rogan, were among the other world leaders, artists, icons, and pioneers honoured.

According to De Oliveira, the Covid pandemic has reminded the local researchers that they have the capabilities and the facilities to cope with infectious virus infections and respiratory illnesses.

“The fact that SU has produced two of the world’s most influential people shows that the institution and our team are strongly committed to truth, high-quality scientific research in South Africa and across the country, and, most notably, the development of Africa’s next leaders.”  he stated.

Moyo, a research associate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was a part of Botswana’s Covid-19 presidential task force and makes a major contribution to the region’s national response.

“Only by working together and sharing ideas on a regular basis will we be able to succeed.” According to Moyo, “true collaboration is required for scientific success.”

De Oliveira Moyo’s work benefited the entire world, according to John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“There are individuals in every generation who inspire future generations.” Tulio and  Sikhulile could be role models for those in genomics and public health. “Their contributions are far from finished,” he said.

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