The Abdool Karims said they are “deeply honoured to be joint recipients of the prestigious Noguchi Medical Research Award as it affirms that African scientists are leading and making important contributions in the global fight against Aids, TB and Covid-19.
“This recognition is not just for both of us, but for our research team of over 300, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, statisticians and laboratory scientists. But our work is not done yet. This award spurs us to do even more to prevent and treat infectious diseases in Africa.”
The couple has worked side-by-side as spouse scientists tackling devastating diseases while overcoming scientific and political obstacles.
At considerable professional risk, they confronted Aids denial, provided life-sparing antiviral treatments in defiance of government policy and developed HIV prevention approaches that empower women to protect themselves.
They established collaborative HIV research centres, working with international partners on vaccines, immunopathogenesis research, microbicides and antiviral treatments.
They have continued their work in the Covid-19 pandemic, undertaking rapid surveillance, promoting evidence-based prevention and combating misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines.
The couple provided accurate estimations of likely future surges of the coronavirus and assisted Africa to be better prepared for pandemic pressure on its healthcare and social systems, and economies.