100 most influential people tulio de oliveira

Photo: Twitter / Stellenbosch University

SA-based scientist named amongst Time’s ‘100 most influential people’

How great is this? One of the 100 most influential people on Earth is based in Durban – and his work to identify Omicron has been recognised.

100 most influential people tulio de oliveira

Photo: Twitter / Stellenbosch University

Go on, Professor! Tulio de Oliveira – a leading COVID-19 experts in South Africa – has been named as one of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’, as part of the iconic annual list released by Time Magazine.

Professor Tulio de Oliveira gets nod from Time Magazine

The accolade is a fitting achievement for the man jointly credited with discovering the game-changing Omicron variant. De Oliveira, who serves as the director of South Africa’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, alerted the world to the new coronavirus mutation last November.

His cool, calm, and collected delivery of emerging information helped us all understand the nature of the challenge we were facing. However, the professor has insisted that all the plaudits cannot go to him – and he appears on the list with Sikhulile Moyo.

The Zimbabwean-born laboratory director for the Botswana-­Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory also played a major role in the genomic sequencing of Omicron. Time Magazine praised the pair for ‘symbolising the excellence of African science’.

“Their discovery of the Omicron variant was a transformational moment and a shift in paradigm – one that for me symbolized that excellence in science can originate in Africa. However, the international response to this discovery was complex.”

“Every generation has people who inspire subsequent generations. Sikhulile Moyo and Tulio de Oliveira have the potential to be that for people who will work in public health and genomics. We have not seen the end of their contributions.”

Time Magazine

SA-based scientist named amongst 100 most influential people – but he’s refusing to take all the credit…

That ‘complex’ international response to Omicron was not lost on Professor de Oliveira, either. He was extremely critical of the travel bans and restrictions placed on South Africa when the variant was discovered here at the back-end of 2021, accusing western nations of ‘blatant hypocrisy’.

  • Alas, Tulio has been rewarded for his epic efforts – alongside one of his past PhD students. How wonderful!