Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who stepped down as co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, has passed the baton to his long-time friend and colleague Professor Koleka Mlisana.
Karim, an infectious diseases epidemiologist, has been at the helm of the MAC since its inception last year.
“I always knew that I would not remain on a permanent basis and gave myself a year.
“I believe the country is in a good place and I am not worried to step back because of the faith I have in the MAC,” he said.
Karim said his focus would now be directed back to his passion: solving HIV.
He said while his MAC duties were no more, he remained the director of Caprisa and professor to three ivy league schools in the US - Harvard, Columbia and Cornell.
“I have to restart my life and it will take about six months. In a few days, I am off to the US to the universities and will be getting back to my paying job at Caprisa.”
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that Mlisana would be Karim’s successor and join Professor Marian Jacobs as the co-chair of the MAC on Covid-19, reports the Sunday Tribune.
Mlisana, a mom of three, is the country’s first black microbiologist and earned her professorship from her alma mater the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
She currently serves as a member of the MAC on antimicrobial resistance and is the executive manager of Academic Affairs, Research and Quality Assurance at the National Health Laboratory Service.