President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated epidemiologist and Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Professor Salim Abdool Karim on being awarded the 2020 John Maddox Prize.

“It is an honour to congratulate Prof Karim on an outstanding achievement and international recognition of his contribution to science and to our national response to COVID-19,” the president said.

“As an advisor in official forums and as an ambassador for science, Prof Karim has richly influenced our response to this pandemic, and enabled public understanding of COVID-19 through his clear and endearing communication of the science behind this global challenge to human health.”

The John Maddox Prize awarded to Prof Karim is a joint initiative of the charity Sense about Science and the leading international scientific journal, Nature.

Above and beyond

The prize, awarded annually since 2012, recognizes researchers who have shown “great courage and integrity” in standing up for science and scientific reasoning against fierce opposition and hostility.

The 2020 prize was jointly awarded to Prof Karim, who is the Director of the Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the United States’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), for their work during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The prize recognises the two scientists’ work as prominent government advisors on health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their exceptional communication of the science behind COVID-19 to the public and policymakers.

In recent decades, both scientists have also provided leadership in their respective countries’ response to HIV and AIDS.

Team Karim

The President also extended his congratulations as well to Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim – the globally acclaimed HIV and AIDS researcher and epidemiologist who is also the spouse of Prof Salim Karim – on their shared receipt of the Chilean government’s 500 Years of the Strait of Magellan Award.

With this award, Chile honours innovators who, through their research or actions, have contributed to providing solutions to global needs.

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