By Kaya 959 News
Abdool Karim stepped down as the co-chair of the country’s COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee last month.
The Science Council, comprising nine of the world’s leading health researchers and chaired by Nobel Laureate Dr Harold Varmus, was inaugurated on Tuesday by WHO’s Director-General.
The Council was established by Dr Tedros Gebresus, WHO’s Director-General, as the ‘voice of scientific leadership and will directly advise WHO about high-priority scientific issues’.
Council provides scientific advice
The Council has been established to provide scientific advice to respond to health problems such as global health threats, interpret the latest scientific and medical knowledge, and identify the latest advances in technology to improve health globally.
The Council will provide guidance in furtherance of WHO’s mission, including on the identification of current and new science and technology issues that WHO needs to address for direct or indirect impact on global health.
The Council will provide strategic advice to WHO on science, research and innovation in relation to the future impact of scientific developments.
Abdool Karim awarded John Maddox Prize
Abdool Karim is the Director of CAPRISA – Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa – and CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University. He is internationally renowned for his scientific contributions in AIDS and COVID-19.
“Pandemics such as AIDS and COVID-19 have highlighted the important role of science in global health. I am looking forward to participating in this Council providing scientific advice to WHO on future developments in health that the world needs to be better prepared for,” he said.
Abdool Karim previously served as the chair of the South African ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19.
“As an advisor in official forums and as an ambassador for science, Prof Karim has richly influenced our response to this pandemic, and enabled public understanding of COVID-19 through his clear and endearing communication of the science behind this global challenge to human health”, said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In December 2020, he received the John Maddox Prize together with Dr Anthony Fauci in the US for standing up for science.
Highly cited scientist
Abdool Karim is ranked by Web of Science as one of the world’s most highly cited scientists, indicating how widely his scientific papers are quoted and referenced by other scientists worldwide.
He serves on the Boards of several journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Global Health, and Lancet HIV.
He is the Chair of the WHO’s HIV Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for HIV and Hepatitis. He is also a member of the WHO TB-HIV Task Force. He is a member of the US National Academy of Medicine and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
“Individually you each represent scientific excellence in your domain”, said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the WHO.
“And collectively you are an outstanding group of researchers and scientists, and the Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, and I am grateful for your commitment to WHO and health for all.”