NEWS: South Africa’s Gita Ramjee a world-renowned virologist has become the first South African of Indian-origin to die after contracting the coronavirus.
Ramjee’s death followed after her a trip to London a week ago but at that time had showed no symptoms of being infected with the coronavirus. Ramjee, 64, was the Clinical Trials Unit Principal Investigator and Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) in Durban.
South Africa’s death count from the COVID-19 infection currently stands a five people. Over 13,50 cases have been reported in the country so far.
In 2018, 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.
“We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic passing of Prof Gita Ramjee in hospital today,
Prof Ramjee died of COVID-19 related complications,”SAMRC President and CEO Glenda Gray.
“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,” Gray had said after the Indian-origin scientist received the award.
Ramjee was married to pharmacist Pravin Ramjee, a South African of Indian descent. Her funeral arrangements have not been announced. Attendance at funerals in South Africa is highly restricted and requires permits as the country is going through a 21-day nationwide lockdown announced last week by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The death toll from the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic has risen to 41,654 and over 850,580 people have been infected by the deadly virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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