Meet Dr Sikhulile Moyo The Zimbabwean Researcher Who Led The Team To First Sequence The "Omicron" Variant

Dr Sikhulile Moyo has been credited as the leader of the medical team based in Botswana that was the first to successfully sequence the new Covid-19 variant. The sequencing published by Dr Moyo and his team was quickly followed by the publishing of sequencing from the team of South African doctors and researchers. This new variant was initially labelled as lineage B.1.1.529 before being named "Omicron" by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and initial fears are that it is more viral than the Delta variant which ran rampant earlier in the year.

Cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been confirmed in the following countries: South Africa, Botswana, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Belgium, Israel, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic, Australia, Canada and Portugal. Yet across the world travel bans have mostly been instituted for travellers from southern African countries.

Dr Sikhulile Moyo is an academic and researcher. He is also reported to be a gospel musician. Moyo is currently the Research Associate and Laboratory Director at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute. 

Dr Moyo is responsible for laboratory support of clinical trials, including supervision of an ISO accredited laboratory. He oversees the design and implementation of laboratory components of clinical trials, observational studies, and surveillance studies. 

Dr Sikhulile Moyo's research focuses on the characterization of acute and primary HIV-1 subtype C infection; molecular epidemiology of HIV-1C infection; dynamics of viral evolution; HIV drug resistance; design and evaluation of cross-sectional methods for estimating HIV incidence, including improved accuracy and incorporating analysis of HIV diversity and estimation of transmission time into multi-assay algorithms.

(Sources: Pindula, LinkedIn)

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