Indian-origin virologist Gita Ramjee died in South Africa after contracting the novel coronavirus. The country has seen 5 deaths because of COVID-19 so far.
Ramjee, a vaccine scientist and an HIV prevention research leader, reportedly returned from London a week ago but was asymptomatic.
"We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic passing of Prof Gita Ramjee in hospital today," said a statement issued by South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) President and CEO Glenda Gray. "Prof Ramjee died of COVID-19 related complications."
64-year-old Ramjee was the Clinical Trials Unit Principal Investigator and Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit of the SAMRC offices in Durban.
In 2018, Ramjee was presented the Outstanding Female Scientist Award in Lisbon by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP) for her commitment to finding new HIV prevention methods, which are conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women are faced with.