They say not all heroes wear capes and it’s true: today’s heroes wear lab coats, gloves and safety glasses. 👩🏽⚕️ We’re talking about the world’s remarkable scientists. When South Africans first heard about a mysterious virus in China in early 2020, scientists had already identified and sorted the entire genome of the coronavirus and had posted it online. Two weeks later, designs for an antidote or vaccine were already being keyed into machines to “unlock a world that had not even locked down yet”, as Time Magazine put it. That’s why the American magazine named scientists “Heroes of the Year”. (It featured SA-bred boytjie, billionaire Elon Musk, on the cover as Person of the Year). 😬 The magazine put the spotlight on four scientists: Kizzmekia Corbett, Barney Graham, Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman were hailed for their sacrifice and hard work in understanding the virus and developing a vaccine. The magazine dubbed them “The Miracle Workers.” We couldn’t agree more!
Closer to home, our own scientists discovered the Omicron variant and worked hard to help the public understand the complexities of Covid. We’re proud of Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Dr Shabir Madhi, Professor Glenda Gray, Professor Tulio de Oliveira and many others: they have driven discovery, research and discussions about vaccine equity, representing SA on the global stage with distinction, expertise and humility. 🙌🏽
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 December 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.