Chapter 2: The resistant variant

Authors: Patrick Soon-Shiong & Tulio de Oliveira - 2021-01-22

Summary: In the second chapter of this series, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong introduces our guest, Tulio de Oliveira, a Brazilian-South African geneticist and bioinformatician whose work led to the identification of new coronavirus variants in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Known as a “virus hunter,” De Oliveira founded and runs a laboratory at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, where he’s studied coronavirus samples since the start of the pandemic. De Oliveira's discovery in December of multiple mutations explained why South Africa had seen a sudden rise in coronavirus cases. When De Oliveira presented his findings days later to the World Health Organization, they helped other scientists spot a variant in the U.K. that had one of the mutations discovered in De Oliveira's lab. De Oliveira tells Dr. Soon-Shiong about how this all began with his quest to understand South Africa’s sudden rise in cases, and how he later made another alarming discovery: that these mutations have given the virus variant new resistance to many monoclonal antibodies as well to antibodies present in convalescent plasma.

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Videos: Chapter 2: The resistant variant

KRISP has been created by the coordinated effort of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the South African Medical Research Countil (SAMRC).

Location: K-RITH Tower Building
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN
719 Umbilo Road, Durban, South Africa.
Director: Prof. Tulio de Oliveira