Quarraisha Abdool Karim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Quarraisha Abdool Karim
Quarraisha Abdool Karim.jpg
Born (1960-03-28) 28 March 1960 (age 59)
ResidenceSouth Africa
NationalitySouth African
Alma materUniversity of Durban-Westville
University of the Witwatersrand
University of Natal
Columbia University
Known forCAPRISA 004 study[1]
AwardsOrder of Mapungubwe, L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards
Scientific career
FieldsEpidemiology, HIV, Microbicides
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Doctoral advisorHoosen Coovadia, Jack Moodley[2]

Quarraisha Abdool Karim (born 28 March 1960) is a South African epidemiologist, known for her many contributions to AIDS research. She is the Associate Scientific Director of the AIDS research center, CAPRISA, a professor in Clinical Epidemiology at the Columbia University,[3] and an honorary professor in Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.[4] She is also the vice-president of the African Academy of Sciences.[3]

Karim's research is world-renowned, most notably with the CAPRISA 004 study,[3] where she was the principal investigator. Her work has been awarded on many occasions, including the Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze),[5] the highest honor in South Africa, and the prestigious L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards[6] for helping to combat HIV and improving the life of African women.

Early life and education[edit]

Abdool Karim was born in Tongaat in South Africa in 1960. In 1981, she graduated with a bachelor of science from the University of Durban-Westville. Abdool Karim then moved on to the University of Witwatersrand,[2] gaining a bachelor of science honours degree in Biochemistry.[7] For her master's degree, Abdool Karim moved to the United States, gaining her master's in Parasitology in 1988, from Columbia University. In 2000, she completed her PhD in Medicine from the University of Natal, in South Africa.[7]

HIV Research[edit]

In the 1990s, South Africa had seen an HIV epidemic. During this time, Abdool Karim began her socia-behavioural studies in relation to HIV, in South Africa.[8] She conducted population-based surveys, aiming to the understand the spread of the epidemic in women, as well as researching on additional factors such as gender, age, and migration. In 1992, Abdool Karim et al. published a paper, highlighting that women were more vulnerable to the HIV infection. The study also found a correlation between migration and HIV. This correlation was found to be particularly emphasised among men.[9] During the 1990s, Abdool Karim conducted numerous studies and wrote a handful of papers, studying the infection and highlighting the different groups who were more at risk to the disease.[8]

CAPRISA 004[edit]

In 2007, CAPRISA conducted a clinical trial, named CAPRISA 004, and Abdool Karim was the principal investigator. This underlying aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Tenefovir gel, in reducing the risk of HIV contraction. The CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial also resulted in a proof of concept for Microbicides.[3] Overall, the study demonstrated protection against the HIV infection, with a 39% reduction in infections.[10] Additionally, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference, 2010, the results of their CAPRISA 004 study led to a standing ovation, an uncommon occurrence at a scientific meeting.[11]

Awards and Honours[edit]

Abdool Karim has won many awards for her work on AIDS research. This includes the TWAS-Lenovo Science prize. Here, she became the first women recipient of that award, receiving the $100,000 prize.[12]

  • 2011: Olusegun Obasanjo Prize[13]
  • 2013: Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze)[5]
  • 2014: TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize[14]
  • 2014: SAMRC Scientific Merit Award (Gold)[15]
  • 2014: ASSAF Science-for-Society Award (Gold)[16]
  • 2015: eThekwini Living Legends Award[17]
  • 2016: L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science[6]

Personal life[edit]

Quarraisha Abdool Karim is married to the South African epidemiologist, Salim 'Slim' Abdool Karim, whom she sometimes collaborates with on research. She has three children.

Abdool Karim owns a house in Durban and also has an apartment in Manhattan.[2]

In 2017, the BBC named Abdool Karim as one of the seven trailblazing women in science.[18]


  1. ^ Karim, Q.A.; Karim, S.S.A.; Frolich, J.A.; et al. (2010). "Effectiveness and Safety of Tenofovir Gel, an Antiretroviral Microbicide, for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Women". Science. 329 (5996): 1168–1174. doi:10.1126/science.1193748. JSTOR 40803050. PMC 3001187. PMID 20643915.
  2. ^ a b c "A Q&A with epidemiologist Quarraisha Abdool Karim". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Quarraisha Abdool Karim | Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health". www.mailman.columbia.edu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  4. ^ "UNAIDS Executive Director appoints Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador". www.unaids.org. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Full List of National Order recipients". www.enca.com. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Laureates of the 2016 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards". UNESCO. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b administrator (3 June 2016). "Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim". South African Medical Research Council. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Mandisa., Mbali (2013). South African AIDS activism and global health politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137312167. OCLC 833159928.
  9. ^ Abdool Karim, Q.; Abdool Karim, S. S.; Singh, B.; Short, R.; Ngxongo, S. (December 1992). "Seroprevalence of HIV infection in rural South Africa". AIDS. 6 (12): 1535–1539. ISSN 0269-9370. PMID 1492937.
  10. ^ Karim, Quarraisha Abdool; Karim, Salim S. Abdool; Frohlich, Janet A.; Grobler, Anneke C.; Baxter, Cheryl; Mansoor, Leila E.; Kharsany, Ayesha B. M.; Sibeko, Sengeziwe; Mlisana, Koleka P. (3 September 2010). "Effectiveness and Safety of Tenofovir Gel, an Antiretroviral Microbicide, for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Women". Science. 329 (5996): 1168–1174. doi:10.1126/science.1193748. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 3001187. PMID 20643915.
  11. ^ UKZN. "CAPRISA Trial Scoops USAID Award Breakthrough Microbicide Gel Prevents HIV and Herpes in Women" Archived 29 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 31 January 2014. Retrieved on 23 August 2014.
  12. ^ Norling, Linda (28 October 2014). "The South African HIV scientist who gave girls back control of their bodies". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  13. ^ "The Olusegun Obasanjo Prize". African Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  14. ^ "TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize". TWAS. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  15. ^ administrator (28 November 2017). "SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards". South African Medical Research Council. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  16. ^ User, Super. "ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medals". www.assaf.org.za. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  17. ^ "EThekwini Municipality Honours its Living Legends". CAPRISA | Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Seven trailblazing women in science". BBC News. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2018.