(NEW YORK POST) – A top South African virologist who was renowned for her work battling the HIV crisis has died from coronavirus, according to a report.
Gita Ramjee, who was a chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute, died at a hospital Tuesday near the coastal city of Durban, the BBC reported.
The scientist fell sick after returning to South Africa in mid-March from a conference in the United Kingdom, where she gave a presentation at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the outlet reported.
“She dedicated many years of her life to finding HIV prevention solutions for women,” colleague Gavin Churchyard told the outlet.
Churchyard remembered Ramjee on Wednesday as a “vibrant person” and “a real fighter.”
“That will be my lasting memory of her – how she fought with everything to advance access to healthcare for women in disadvantaged communities,” he said.
The country’s deputy president, David Mabuza, also paid tribute.
“The passing of Prof Ramjee comes as a huge blow to the entirety of the healthcare sector and the global fight against HIV/Aids,” he said in a statement.
“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 honor, 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.”