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Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim delivers First ARUA Distinguished Annual Public Lecture

20th September 2023

ARUA held its first Distinguished Annual Public Lecture at the auditorium of Future Africa, University of Pretoria on 14th September 2023.

The lecture was delivered by Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Professor of Global Health, Columbia University.

The brilliant lecture was on the topic AIDS and Covid-19: A tale of two pandemics. The distinguished lecturer argued that the two most challenging pandemics of the last 40 years provide valuable epidemiological lessons as the world prepares for the next pandemic. He said the relationship between cause and effect, or intervention and effect have been challenging to unravel for both pandemics, though the nature of the challenges differed. His presentation highlighted his personal 30-year journey with HIV/AIDS research, shedding light on factors behind the high prevalence among young women especially and attempts to find treatment for them. The relatively shorter engagement of three years with COVID-19 and its variants showed what science collaboration can achieve in the face of a pandemic. Professor Karim noted that the research experience and capacity developed for the HIV response in Africa were key to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in developing the understanding of each new variant.

Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim

The ARUA Secretary-General, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, expressed the Alliance’s appreciation to Professor Karim for delivering a very brilliant lecture. He noted especially the fact that non-scientists could easily follow the scientific public lecture. He was satisfied that young scientists had had a lot to learn from the lecture and could appreciate the significance of science collaboration.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary-General of ARUA

The lecture was hosted by University of Pretoria and its Interim Vice Chancellor, Professor Themba Mosia spoke about his university’s commitment to the growth of science in Africa and to ARUA. Professor Sunil Maharaj, Vice-Principal for Research at University of Pretoria welcomed guests to the well-attended hybrid event. He said it was an honour for the University to host the first ARUA Distinguished Public Lecture.

Click to view the lecture: