Becoming the first Indian origin to have died in South Africa, Virologist Gita Ramjee becomes one in the five in the country. Ms Gita, 64, a vaccine scientist and an HIV prevention research leader had returned from London a week ago with reportedly no symptoms of COVID 19.
Ms Ramjee, was the Clinical Trials Unit Principal Investigator and Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) offices in Durban.
“We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic passing of Prof Gita Ramjee in hospital today,” said a statement issued by SAMRC President and CEO Glenda Gray. “Prof Ramjee died of COVID-19 related complications,” Ms Gray added.
In 2018, Ms Ramjee was presented with the Outstanding Female Scientist Award in Lisbon by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP) for her lifetime commitment to finding new HIV prevention methods, which are conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women are faced with.
“This award is an acknowledgement of the unwavering determination by a global community to forever change the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” she had said at the time.
“Professor Gita Ramjee is a towering HIV prevention research leader whose work continues to contribute immensely to the global response to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Ms Gray had said after the Indian-origin scientist received the award