Johannesburg, South Africa
Professor Anna Kramvis is a Research Professor and Director of the Hepatitis Virus Diversity Research Unit (HVDRU), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. The HVDRU provides a platform for training of research scientists in molecular virology. Her primary research interest is the molecular virology of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), especially of uniquely African strains of the virus, which differ from those found in other regions of the world. The focus of her research has been the study of sequence variation of African HBV strains, their functional characterization and their role in clinical manifestation of disease. HBV is estimated to infect two billion humans and it is second only to cigarette smoking as an agent causing human cancer. Globally over 257 million individuals are chronically infected with the virus and a large number of these will develop liver cancer. Approximately 16% – 20% of the carriers of the world reside in Africa. No infectious diseases research in Africa can neglect the AIDS pandemic scourging our continent, so, in addition to HBV-mono-infection, her team is researching HBV/HIV co-infection and developing bioinformatics tools to facilitate the study of these infections. She has successfully supervised and graduated 31 postgraduate students and her current team consists of 3 postdoctoral fellows, 2 PhD and 6 Master students. She has published more than 80 articles in international journals and she is involved in collaborative studies with researchers in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Greece India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, United States of America, and Zimbabwe. The National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa has rated her as an internationally recognized scientist. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSaf). She is a member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver and sits on various international committees including the Hepatitis Transformative Science Group (TSG) of the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) and its HBV Cure Working Group, and the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV). Together with her international collaborators she has organized three international meetings in 2007, 2008 and 2011 (for details see www.wits.ac.za/health/hvdru). Ιn September 2017, together with Professor Jake Liang of NIH she organized the 2017 International HBV Meeting in Washington D.C. If we are going to respond to the WHO call for the elimination of hepatitis by 2030, Professor Kramvis strongly believes, that hepatitis research in Africa should be prioritized, there is no room for complacency!