PPRETORIA, 01 October 2020 – The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) congratulates Professor Ravindra (Ravi) Gupta for being recognised as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world in this year’s TIME100 List.
Prof. Gupta is a member of the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), a Durban-based HIV and TB research organisation where his profile states that his work is focused on understanding the genetic and biological properties of drug resistant HIV in South Africa, where it is estimated that 10% or more patients experience treatment failure. His work brings together the multiple strands of his ongoing research to address critically important consequences of global access to ART. In addition to his AHRI Faculty position, he is Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Cambridge.
The TIME100 honour is issued in recognition of, among other things, the role he played in the treatment of the “London Patient” where he led the scientist who treated the patient. The ‘London Patient’ is the second one in the world to be cured of HIV through a bone marrow transplant for lymphoma. The donor of the bone marrow carried a mutation that impeded the ability of HIV to enter cells, in so doing, the transplant essentially replaced the patient’s immune system with one that is resistant to HIV. One other patient was cured through a similar method (bone-marrow transplant) in Germany and is thus known as ‘the Berlin patient’. This method however, cannot be replicated at a larger scale to cure HIV due to the risks involved. It also remains an unsustainable treatment option. It does however; provide valuable lessons in the quest for a cure.
SANAC takes this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the sterling work of Prof. Gupta for it is through the efforts of scientists like him that South Africa continues to make significant strides in HIV response programmes. The country may be battling excessively high rates of HIV and TB infections but its response programmes are among the best in the world.
We congratulate him for this honour and hope it will encourage him to do more!
[Image source: AHRI)
For media queries, please contact Nelson Dlamini, SANAC Communications: 078 731 0313 / firstname.lastname@example.org