Salim Abdool Karim Anthony Fauci and Professor Karim were jointly awarded John Maddox Prize 2020 for standing up for science during the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo Cred: SA Government

Anthony Fauci and Professor Karim were jointly awarded John Maddox Prize 2020 for standing up for science during the coronavirus pandemic.


Johannesburg, South Africa (19 December 2020) – President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated epidemiologist and Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Professor Salim Abdool Karim on being awarded the 2020 John Maddox Prize.

Anthony Fauci and Professor Karim were jointly awarded John Maddox Prize 2020 for standing up for science during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci – Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Karim – FRS an infectious diseases epidemiologist and director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa – have been recognised for going beyond the line of duty as government advisors on health. They communicated the complex and changing science of Covid-19 to the public and policymakers, in the midst of international uncertainty and anxiety.

Now in its 9th year, the John Maddox Prize1, a joint initiative of the charity Sense about Science and the scientific journal Nature, is awarded to one or two people a year for standing up for sound science in public. The Maddox Prize 2020 received over 100 nominations from 34 different countries.

Tracey Brown OBE, director, Sense about Science: “The prize, by its nature, has typically focused on people who have not had the recognition of their efforts to communicate science in difficult circumstances. This year the biggest scientific battles have been under a spotlight from politicians, the media, and the public, so as judges our considerations were different.

We have high expectations of people in public office, so we are recognising a standard above and beyond that. This crisis drew many advisers away into the corridors of decision making and official announcements. Instead, our joint winners took every opportunity to talk to the public through uncertain and emerging science.”

The prize recognises the two scientists’ work as prominent government advisors on health during the COVID-19 pandemic and their exceptional communication of the science behind COVID-19 to the public and policymakers. In recent decades, both scientists have also provided leadership in their respective countries’ response to HIV and AIDS.

“It is an honour to congratulate Prof Karim on an outstanding achievement and international recognition of his contribution to science and to our national response to 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 Ramaphosa on Thursday.

The President also extended his congratulations as well to Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim – the globally acclaimed HIV and AIDS researcher and epidemiologist who is also the spouse of Prof Salim Karim – on their shared receipt of the Chilean government’s 500 Years of the Strait of Magellan Award.

With this award, Chile honours innovators who, through their research or actions, have contributed to providing solutions to global needs.

Sources: SA News 
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