A world-renowned South African scientist Gita Ramjee has died from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Professor Ramjee died in hospital near the coastal city of Durban on Tuesday. She was the chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute, a leading authority in the fight against HIV and TB.
“The passing of Prof Ramjee comes as a huge blow to the entirety of the healthcare sector and the global fight against HIV/Aids,” South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza, who recently tested negative for coronavirus, said in a statement.
The BBC quoted her colleague and friend Gavin Churchyard as telling the network “she dedicated many years of her life to finding HIV prevention solutions for women.”
Head of UNAids Winnie Byanyima said Prof Ramjee’s death was a huge loss at a time when the world needed her most, the BBC said.
“In her, we have indeed lost a champion in the fight against the HIV epidemic, ironically at the hands of this global pandemic. In her honour, we should heed the call to flatten the curve by strengthening our responses to this global pandemic as well as continue the fight to achieve zero new HIV infections,” Byanyima said.