There were two landmark studies (both published in the highest ranking medical journal globally- New England J Medicine) in the past year, which has important implications for South Africa and globally. Included among these is the first randomized controlled trial globally to show that influenza vaccination of pregnant women protected HIV infected and HIV-uninfected women against influenza illness, as well as their infants.

These data will be used to inform WHO policy on maternal influenza vaccine prioritisation. Following this study, the South African National Advisory Group for Immunization has recommended that pregnant women be prioritised for influenza vaccination in South Africa.

Also, the Chair was an investigator on a study which has now documented the impact which the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in childhood immunization program has had in young infants and in older unvaccinated age-groups. These data will be important for advocacy aimed at the introduction of PCV into other lowmiddle income childhood immunization programs.

Also, this study shows that the impact of the introduction of this vaccine in SA, which was led by the Chairs previous work, will contribute toward reducing morbidity in HIV-infected Individuals.

Furthermore, the Chair supervised a PhD student in the first study from Africa to show the effectiveness of the

introduction of rotavirus vaccine (which was also championed through past work of the Chair) has had on diarrheal hospitalization. This was published in the number-1 ranking journal in the field of Infectious Diseases (Lancet Infectious Diseases), and included an editorial commentary on the importance of these data for advocating for the inclusion of rotavirus vaccine into LMIC immunization programs, and measuring the effectiveness thereof.

The research staff of the Chair also received awards for the Best Oral presentation and Best Poster presentation at the Faculty of Health Sciences Biennial Research Day (Univ of the Witwatersrand). Furthermore, the Chair was recognised for having published the highest number (n=29) of peer-reviewed journal articles in 2013 (which is the second consecutive year in which this has been accomplished), almost all of which are international journals.

During the 2014 reporting period, the Chair also received grants to the value of R98 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for research focused on improving child health during early infancy through vaccination of pregnant women.

Research Achievements


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