In a testament to his outstanding contributions to science and public health, South African vaccine scientist Professor Shabir Madhi has been conferred with an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by King Charles III of the United Kingdom.
The CBE, one of the UK's prestigious honours, is bestowed upon individuals who have made substantial contributions to society. Professor Shabir Madhi, renowned as the Wits Professor of Vaccinology, gained international acclaim for leading the Oxford University-sponsored Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials in South Africa. These trials played a pivotal role in shaping the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both within South Africa and on a global scale.
Beyond his instrumental role in COVID-19 vaccine trials, Professor Madhi has been recognized as a leader in the field, conducting extensive clinical and serology epidemiology studies on COVID-19. His research extends to the development of vaccines for other life-threatening diseases.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford and Madhi's close collaborator during the COVID-19 vaccine trials, expressed delight at Madhi's CBE appointment. Pollard commended Madhi for his remarkable contributions to global public health and exceptional leadership during a worldwide pandemic.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (from 2020 to 2022), Madhi emerged as a prominent advocate for COVID-19 vaccination, emphasizing the crucial need for increased vaccine access in Africa.
Upon receiving the CBE, Professor Shabir Madhi acknowledged the collective efforts of the Wits VIDA research team at Wits University, the University of Oxford, and colleagues in South Africa. He underscored the pride he felt in scientifically contributing to shaping the public health response to COVID-19 in South Africa and globally.
This prestigious appointment adds to Professor Madhi's extensive list of accolades, including the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-South32 Lifetime Achiever Award in 2021/22, the Science for Society Gold Medal from the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) for outstanding achievements benefiting society, and the Lifetime Achievement Award (Platinum Medal) by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for research excellence impacting child health in South Africa and other developing countries.
Professor Shabir Madhi holds memberships in ASSAf, the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSAf), and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
Article by RB Correspodent