Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim


Quarraisha Abdool Karim, (Ph.D.) is an NRF A1 rated scientist and infectious diseases epidemiologist. She is the Associate, scientific Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at Columbia University in New York and Pro-vice Chancellor for African  Health, at the University of KwaZulu Natal. The recipient of multiple awards nationally and globally, Professor Abdool Karim, is currently a member of the Executive Group of the International Steering Committee for the COVID-19 Solidarity Trial and the Ministerial Advisory Committee for the COVID-19, in the Public Health group. Her research over the past 28 years has focused on HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women. This includes clinical trials from the early phase, through proof of concept and implementation of discoveries. Her landmark study, the Tenofovir gel CAPRISA 004 trial, demonstrated for the first time that antiretrovirals could prevent HIV infection. The research was highlighted by the journal Science as one of the top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010.


Abdool Karim has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, edited several books, contributed several book chapters, including co-editing the 6th and 7th edition of the Oxford Textbook on Global Public Health. She has played a central role in building the science base in southern Africa through the Columbia University – Southern African Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Programme that has trained over 600 scientists in Southern Africa.  She holds Fellowships at the: National Academy of Medicine, The World Academy of Science, Royal Society of South Africa, Academy of Science of South Africa, and the African Academy of Science.


Prof Abdool Karim’s scientific contributions in highlighting the vulnerability of young women, the need for women-initiated technologies, and integration of HIV prevention efforts into sexual reproductive health services have been recognized by more than 30 local and prestigious international awards including South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, from the President of South Africa.