Professor Glenda Gray will present an overview of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and the variants of concern that were responsible for the various surges or waves. She will discuss the excess deaths versus COVID-19 reported deaths and risk factors of dying from COVID-19 in RSA and look at the role of HIV in COVID-19 outcomes. She will review the vaccine roll-out in South Africa as compared to the rest of the world and discuss issues of inequity, vaccine hesitancy and real world effectiveness of vaccines with a focus on HIV infected individuals. Finally, she will look at the interplay between COVID-19 regulatory strategies like the lock down and its impact on lives and livelihoods and provide a view on future pandemic preparedness and health system resilience.


President of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Professor Glenda Gray is a qualified pediatrician and co-founder of the internationally recognised Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto, South Africa. Prior to her appointment at the SAMRC, she was the Executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, an affiliate of Wits University.

Glenda’s global profile includes a role as Co-PI of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), a transnational collaboration for the development of HIV/AIDS prevention vaccines. She is also Director of International Programmes for HVTN and Chairperson of the Board of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, USA.

She received South Africa’s highest honour - the Order of Mapungubwe - for her pioneering research in PMTCT. Other prestigious accolades include the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award for significant contributions in the field of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Selected as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Glenda is a recognised leader in her field.



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