South Africa: How Knowledge of HIV Can Help South Africa's Virus Hunters Track Down the Universal Covid Enemy

analysis

South Africa's scientists are building on the knowledge they gained in their fight against HIV and are today keeping a sharp eye and keen mind on SARS-CoV-2 and its evolving variants.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an enemy that won't go away anytime soon. Here are a few dedicated scientists trying to change that predicament:

Professor Salim Abdool Karim

When Covid-19 hit South Africa, it found a dedicated scientific front line of scientists who already knew how to find a virus and its variants, and figure out what its next move might be.

SA's ability to find viruses and their variants, and sequence their genomics, was built initially as part of LifeLab (now the Technology Innovation Agency) - with a lab in the Durban city centre funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

"This lab was struggling when Professor Tulio de Oliveira came along and he then set up sequencing capabilities in the Africa Centre but shortly thereafter created a separate unit, merged the LifeLab genomic sequencing platform into his unit and this led to the creation of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp)," says Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who has been the chairperson of the steering committee...

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