Adding to a growing list of Coronavirus related deaths of researchers and scientists, Gita Ramjee, an HIV scientist died of Coronavirus. Ramjee was in London to deliver a lecture in March. On her return to South Africa she felt unwell and was hospitalised. She died from complications relating to COVID-19.
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Gita Ramjee grew up in Colonial Uganda before her family were driven into exile under Idi Amin in the 1970s. She attended high school in India before attending the University of Sunderland in England. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and Physiology. After her marriage she moved to Durban where she began working in the Department of Paediatrics at the Medical School of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
After completing her PhD in kidney diseases of childhood, Ramjee joined the South African Medical Research Council as a scientist. She rose rapidly through the ranks to head the largest unit of the Council, the HIV Prevention Research Unit. She helped expand the unit from 22 scientific staff to 350 and was instrumental in growing its international reputation.
At the time of her death, Ramjee was the Chief Scientific Officer at the Aurum Institute, a not-for-profit AIDS/Tuberculosis research organisation, as well as director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Prevention Research Unit. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Microbicide Conference in 2012.
She was an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Cape Town. She was also a member of a number of local and international committees including the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC).
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Her specialisation in HIV prevention and treatment research led her to lead the expansion of phase I through phase III HIV prevention and treatment clinical trials in the greater Durban area as the Clinical Trials Unit Principal Investigator. Ramjee was concerned that the focus should not only be on clinical trials but treatment accompanied by HIV prevention education and care.
Ramjee was one of the first South African scientists to work on developing microbicides. She received the Outstanding Female Scientist award from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership in 2018 in recognition of her work on HIV prevention.
Gutted. A kind person, a stellar vaccine scientist, a "towering HIV prevention research leader," someone who dedicated her life to ending the HIV pandemic, has died of Covid-19. Prof. Gita Ramjee was Chief Specialist Scientist + Director of the South African Medical Research… pic.twitter.com/SNiACexmSq
— Dr. Seema Yasmin (@DoctorYasmin) March 31, 2020
Ramjee was in London to deliver a lecture at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on 17 March 2020, entitled ‘HIV: diverse challenges among children and women in Asia and Africa‘. On her return to South Africa she felt unwell and was hospitalised. She died from complications relating to COVID-19.
David Mabuza, deputy president of South Africa, led the tributes calling her a “champion in the fight against the HIV epidemic.” As the chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council, he stated: “The passing of Professor Ramjee comes as a huge blow to the entirety of the healthcare sector and the global fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa, praised her work for women, saying “She was involved in almost every major HIV prevention trial on microbicide … and defined her niche in developing technologies for women.”
Readers of GreatGameIndia would remember that after we published the results of an Indian study concluding that COVID-19 was engineered with HIV (AIDS) like insertions, it attracted heavy criticism from social media experts to an extent that even the authors were forced to retract their paper. However, the results of the COVID-19 HIV study was confirmed recently by the Nobel Prize winning French virologist Luc Montagnier, putting all such amateur criticism to rest
There is a growing list of Coronavirus related scientists and researchers dying recently in a very short span of time. A couple of days back Professor Bing Liu of the University of Pittsburgh who was on the verge of a breakthrough in scientific understanding of the new coronavirus was shot dead. Professor Bing Liu’s assassination follows yet another Coronavirus related death of a Canadian scientist Frank Plummer who was also working on a Coronavirus (HIV) vaccine.
Plummer was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Nairobi, Africa. It was under Plummer, the Chinese biowarfare spy Xiangguo Qiu and her team smuggled deadly coronaviruses from the Canadian lab to Wuhan Institute of Virology. Plummer ended up dead a week after GreatGameIndia‘s report was published.
Another scientist who is key to the COVID-19 investigation is Dutch scientist Ron Fouchier. Fouchier was the one who isolated the SARS Coronavirus smuggled out of Saudi Arabia which was sent to Plummer in Winnipeg. Fouchier created world’s deadliest virus strain and his research sparked a global controversy to de-fund and shutdown such experiments. Experts have raised concerns legally that such experiments could not only lead to a global pandemic but could also lead to bio-terrorism.
Dutch Virologist Ron Fouchier is controversial figure Viroscience field who created world’s deadliest virus strain whose research sparked global controversy to shutdown such experiments. He smuggled Coronavirus out of Saudi Arabia & sent to Frank Plummer.https://t.co/KCCEAYIZQY
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) April 24, 2020
Another one is Dr. Charles Lieber, a nano-scientist at Harvard University. He was recently charged by the American authorities for secretly being a Chinese agent. However, there is a mystery surrounding the nature of his work. It is said he was recruited for advanced research into nanowire-batteries. But investigation by GreatGameIndia has shown that Lieber was infact working on virus transmitters that could penetrate cell membranes without affecting the intercellular functions and even measure activities inside heart cells and muscle fibers.
For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.
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