South African epidemiologist Dr Salim Abdool Karim has made the country proud. The doctor, who has been a key advisor to the government shaping the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has jointly won the 2020 John Maddox Prize for standing up for science during the coronavirus pandemic.

His fellow winner includes Dr Anthony Fauci, an American physician and immunologist who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NICD) in America.

The John Maddox Prize recognises the work of people around the world who promote science on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so.

British charity organisation Sense about Science announced the pair has been awarded this prize for “going beyond the line of duty as government advisors on health, and their exceptional communication of the science behind Covid-19 to the public and policymakers.”

Of Karim, the charity said: “He has a reputation for clear and honest communication, something that has allowed him to generate public trust in fast-moving science. Respected for his international science advocacy, engaging with the media and the public has become integral to his role as a scientist.

“The enormous achievements of Karim and Fauci call back to their work tackling AIDS. Over 30 years ago, Fauci oversaw much of the US government’s medical response to the AIDS crisis, while in the early 2000s Karim was one of the scientists who spoke out against AIDS denialism.”

Karim took to Twitter to accept this acknowledgment, writing: “I am grateful to be a co-recipient of the 2020 John Maddox prize and honored to share it with my long-standing colleague and friend, Anthony Fauci. It is our duty as scientists to speak with integrity, be guided by the evidence and inform the public honestly.”

Picture: Twitter

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