South African HIV/Aids research pioneer Glenda Gray on 2017 Time’s 100 Most Influential list

first_imgDr Glenda Gray, the pioneering medical researcher, who specialises in the search for a vaccine for HIV/Aids, is the only South African to be selected as one of Time magazine’s prestigious 100 most influential people in 2017.Dr Glenda Gray, selected as one of 2017’s Most Influential people by Time magazine, is a pioneering medical researcher dedicated to finding an HIV vaccine. Gray has been at the forefront of HIV/Aids treatment and advocacy in South Africa for more than 30 years. (Image: South African Medical Research Council)CD AndersonDr Glenda Gray joins previous South African Time100ers such as comedian Trevor Noah, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. This year’s list includes US presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, humanitarian Melinda Gates and singer Kendrick Lamar.Gray is the president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council (SMRC), and also leads a group of internationally acclaimed medical researchers giving hope to people living with HIV/Aids. Its landmark contribution is the development and implementation of a pioneering HIV vaccine efficacy trial that has been running over the past seven years.This programme seeks to develop an effective and affordable HIV vaccine regimen in South Africa that, if successful, could be the first HIV vaccine to be licensed globally.Speaking to News24 about her work, Gray says: “I [believe] if we find a solution to HIV, we will find it in South Africa. As a county we have come a long way with many breakthroughs over the years.”In the Time profile, editor Siobhan O’Conner calls Gray a dedicated and passionate pioneer, and highlights her research that led to a dramatic drop in mother-to-child HIV transmission and babies born with the virus — from 600,000 a year to 150,000. Part of Gray’s leadership in ongoing research and medical trials is the development of an early infant inoculation system.“[Gray’s] ongoing HIV vaccine study is the largest of its kind ever conducted in South Africa, and with it, Gray is once again doing her part to make sure that the science of HIV — and the conversation around it — never stops evolving,” writes O’Conner.The doctor’s courageous drive and fearlessness in questioning the status quo was, according to her official SMRC biography, developed by her tireless work in fighting against apartheid. During the 1980s Gray was at the forefront of calling for the desegregation of the country’s hospitals and allowing access to medical treatment for all South Africans. After 1994, Gray worked closely with Nelson Mandela’s first democratic government in tackling the growing HIV/Aids problem.She founded South Africa’s first perinatal HIV clinic in 1993, offering testing and counselling facilities for pregnant women in townships. The clinic, together with the University of the Witwatersrand, was also at the forefront of HIV/Aids research. Later, Gray campaigned vigorously for cost-effective HIV treatments for developing countries.In 2001, Gray and others helped to form the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which fought tirelessly for the distribution of treatment to HIV-positive pregnant women in South Africa. In 2002, alongside her colleague Dr James McIntyre, she received the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award for their research. In presenting the award to Gray and her team, Mandela recognised that “beyond doubt and argument” that giving drugs to pregnant women was central to the fight against HIV/Aids.In 2003, Gray and McIntyre were honoured with a Heroes in Medicine Award by the International Association of Physicians in Aids Care.She was also awarded South Africa’s highest national honour, the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) in 2013 for both her activism during apartheid and her pioneering medical research.While the work of the TAC with the South African government has enabled more than 2 million South Africans with HIV/Aids to receive treatment, Gray has refocused her research efforts on developing effective vaccines for the virus, particular for enabling infected mothers to be able to breastfeed infants. Her current work is focusing on developing a vaccine that works for adults and children.“Once we find a vaccine that works, and we put it to infants, I would have completed my cycle, my journey,” she said. “I want to be part of that team that finds an HIV vaccine. I believe we will find it.”Regarding the Time 100 honour, Gray paid tribute to those around her who had been part of the trailblazing work, telling News24 on 21 April 2017: “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my team and the people I work with. So, it’s not just about me, I happen to represent a team that very much deserves this as much as I do… we can’t rest. We will find a solution. I might symbolise hope and passion, but it is the hard work of a whole team of people that will ultimately make a difference.”For a full timeline of the life and work of Dr Glenda Gray, read this 2014 profile.Source: News24, South African Medical Research Council, Wikipedia Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Who Are The NBAs Best Defenders Right Now

For the past few seasons, the best defenders in the NBA have been some combination of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard and Gobert out for all or much of the season so far and Green’s production falling off just a bit, we’ve got some new blood in contention to be the NBA’s best defender.To put a number to this, we’ll use data from Second Spectrum that shows us both the total number of shots defended by a player and how much he affected those shots. There are a few ways to get at this, but we’re going to use “quantified shot probability” (qSP) — which determines the expected value of shots defended using shot distance, shot location and defender position, among other variables — and “quantified shot making” (qSM) — which subtracts the expected effective field goal percentage on those shots from the actual eFG to determine how much of an effect the defender had. In other words, does the defender make shots worse? And if so, by how much?We’ve used metrics like this in the past, but the rub with this set is it adjusts for who’s taking the shot, meaning weak defenders who guard bad shooters don’t get as much credit, and defenders tasked with guarding superstars aren’t punished for their assignment — the star’s excellence is baked into the stat.The per possession numbers will look a little different from the overall effect — players like Tarik Black and Marreese Speights have defended a lot of shots very well in short minutes — but this chart should demonstrate that there is a wide spread on defender effect. What we’re missing here, though, is how many shots a defender actually affects. Here we’ve got total shots as well as the qSM (the difference a defender makes on each shot) plotted against each other to show who’s affecting how many shots to what degree. This isn’t perfect. For one, a great defender doesn’t simply challenge shots — he denies them from happening, forcing a team to reset its offense. But by the same token, great defenders also work their way back into plays, affecting shots by playing smart help defense and covering acres of ground. Another thing these numbers don’t reflect the is overall quality of the shot — there are a few defenders who don’t depress value of each individual shot by as much as others but who force opponents into low-quality shots in general (through hard work and smart positioning) so that the overall effect is the same. Kevin Durant, Golden State WarriorsThe Warriors are unfair. Draymond Green — for my money the best defensive player in the league — has for whatever reason been a little off during the first quarter of the season, possibly because the Warriors can sleepwalk to a bare-minimum 2-seed. He’s not been bad, mind you, just not quite as dominant as usual. That’s left quite a lot of slack in the Golden State scheme, and Durant has picked up more than his fair share of it. Golden State ranks eighth in defensive rating, down from second a season ago, but that almost feels like a threat more than a falloff given how flat the team has looked at times. Beware, it says, this is a top 10 defense even while almost completely half-assing things, just on the virtue of Kevin Durant showing up to work. Durant has been improving as a defender for years, going back to his time with the Thunder. (If you ever go back and watch the 2016 series between OKC and San Antonio, watch Durant on defense — he was the best defensive big man in that series.) His style is also entirely his own: KD gives up relatively “great” shots — ones his opponents would be expected to turn into 52.3 eFG against an average defender, or about what Austin Rivers gives you as a defender. Not great. But because Durant is so long, so mobile and so smart positionally, the actual shots against him fall at a rate of just 45.2 eFG. This still happens within the overall Golden State system — Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have similar opponent eFG numbers, albeit on fewer shots defended — but Durant’s role has him not only locking down his own man but also covering up for lapses by his teammates.Green may remain the more important defender for the Warriors — he’s the anchor, and what he does from his position is impossible to replicate. But Durant’s play so far has been the strongest on a Golden State defense that should end up being a top-3-type unit, at minimum. Honorable mentionGiannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have both been outstanding through the first quarter of the season, but they don’t have quite the same track record as some of the players listed above. Just the same, neither seems to be a fluke. We’ll be a little more certain how permanent their new defensive excellence is by the All-Star break. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis, who last season was in the tier just behind Gobert and Green for overall defensive value, but this year fell off early before making up some ground in the past few weeks.Some others seem more like early-season mirages — Josh Richardson, Gary Harris and Eric Gordon are all having excessively good years by the metrics but are playing way above the levels they had in previous seasons.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Anthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansFrom the time he was a rookie, Anthony Davis has had all the tools. He’d block shots and steal alley-oops and tug on his shorts and check the opposing point guard 30 feet from the basket. He came into the league as a destructive defensive force, but for reasons ranging from injury to scheme to sheer offensive burden, Davis’s aggregate effect on the defensive end hasn’t always lived up to the promise of those moments. This season, it has. Davis ranks seventh in the league in shots defended overall, and the defense gets 12.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits down. That’s nearly double his defensive on/off split from last season, which was already by far the best of his career.Partly this is because of his partnership with DeMarcus Cousins. Defensive intensity hasn’t always been Cousins’s strong point, and that’s still true today, but he has defended the most shots in the league, and done so while holding opponents to a middle-of-the-road 51.4 eFG on shots he defends. Not great, certainly, but it’s a respectable backstop for the defense.Because of Cousins’s role as a reliable constant, Davis is free to cover more ground without making risky moves to get back into plays. And because of that, his personal foul rate is at an all-time low (2.6 fouls per 100 possessions). This allows Davis to do what he does best — stick to his man, rotate to help in the paint without overextending, and blitz spot-up shooters on the perimeter faster than anyone else his size in the league. But despite the limitations, these metrics are a pretty good way to look at who’s having the best defensive season. A few players stand out on the list: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, Boston CelticsThe Celtic defense has continued to crush opponents. Boston is 18-4, with a league-leading defensive rating (100), the second-lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (48.6) and a roster full of live-bodied defenders who can switch practically any assignment. Even Kyrie Irving is chipping in on the effort. But while every Celtic is doing his part, some parts are more critical than others. It’s undeniably been the play from Smart, Brown and Horford that has carried the Celts so far.Smart does not possess the most graceful set of skills, but what he provides is unmistakable to anyone watching. He’s all over the floor, hounding ball handlers, bodying up on bigger players in the post and bumping cutting players he isn’t even guarding, like a middle linebacker jamming a slot receiver.Brown is a little different. While the Boston defense is built on interchangeable pieces switching and denying an offense space, it also needs players who can stick to their man across multiple screens, then square up and check their man as he plants and drives. Brown has stepped into that role and dominated so far. He can fight over screens (or just outright avoid them) to allow the defense to keep its shape, and he has the quicks to shut down first steps with the length to challenge pull-up attempts.Horford, meanwhile, does not have nearly the same reputation as the other two, but this season, he looks livelier than he has in the past when making switches, and he has defended the most shots of any Celtic. The newfound agility in space is especially important — because the defense will semi-regularly ask him to survive on an island against a wing, but also because his role at the center of the defense requires him to scuttle shooters who’ve just run over two or three screens trying to escape Smart or Brown. read more

Is This The Year Georgia Finally Wins The College Football Playoff

USCPac 10200512-12,061200611-22,003 *Season Score is a blend of a team’s final end-of-season Elo, its peak Elo and its overall average Elo throughout the season.Source: ESPN Year 1Year 2 SchoolConferenceYearRecordSeason Sc.YearRecordSeason Sc. PittsburghIndep.198011-12,002198111-12,012 UGA has been great … but not great enoughTeams since 1980 with a Season Score* of 2,000 in back-to-back seasons, but no national championship in either season AlabamaSEC201311-22,066201412-22,099 Ohio StateBig Ten201712-22,002201813-12,057 The hallmark of Georgia’s recent run under Smart might be how complete his teams are. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, UGA had the nation’s fifth-best offense and third-best defense in 2017. They then inverted that with the third-best offense and fifth-best defense last season. The Bulldogs boasted not one but two 1,200-yard rushers (Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) back in 2017, when Fromm was a freshman, but they showcased more passing last season — with Fromm ranking as the third-best QB in the nation according to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, trailing only Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.Georgia does lose five starters apiece on offense and defense from last season, including cornerback Deandre Baker, who won 2018’s Jim Thorpe Award as the country’s top defensive back, and receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley. But Fromm’s return negates one of the biggest factors in an offense’s demise: losing the starting quarterback.According to data collected from the 2001 through 2017 seasons, a previously average offense that loses five starters including the QB would expect to be about 12 percent less efficient than before. However, if the team retains its signal-caller, it can basically expect to carry on without missing a beat — great news for an offense as strong as UGA’s last season. The same can be said for a defense that loses five starters between seasons; our research says that team can also expect no real drop-off in efficiency between seasons, generally speaking.And this Georgia team might be better equipped to handle moderate personnel losses than just about any other program. According to 247Sports.com’s Team Talent Composite, which adds up the total value of all the players on a roster based on their high school recruiting ratings, the Bulldogs rank third nationally going into the 2019 season with a score of 961.85 points. That’s effectively no different from last season, when UGA ranked third with a composite score of 963.87. Add in another year of seasoning for Fromm, who ranks as one of the top QB prospects in next spring’s NFL draft, and the fourth-most returning experience of any team in the SEC according to Phil Steele’s calculations, and the talent in Athens should rival that of almost any other team in the nation.However, one team that still may be running ahead of Georgia in that regard is the same rival that’s been a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side over the past few years: Alabama. The Crimson Tide have scored better than UGA in the Team Talent Composite for five consecutive seasons, and they are also ahead in ESPN’s early season projected FPI right now. It appears Georgia will need another breakthrough to join Clemson and Bama at the very top of the college football mountain, since the gap between Alabama at No. 2 and UGA at No. 3 (5.6 points) is the same as the gap between UGA and No. 10 Oregon.And that’s to say nothing of the Bulldogs’ crushing schedule strength. With games against Texas A&M and Notre Dame on tap, in addition to a trip to Auburn and what looks like a tougher-than-usual matchup with Florida, all before even potentially reaching the SEC title game for a third-straight season, it’s no surprise that FPI has Georgia’s schedule rated as the fourth-most difficult in the country this year. That’s even tougher than Alabama’s slate (which ranks 22nd), and it’s a big reason why FPI gives Georgia only a 2.7 percent chance of navigating through its regular-season schedule without a loss, while Bama has 15.3 percent chance of doing the same.But Georgia has also shown these past few seasons that it belongs squarely in the College Football Playoff conversation, even if it does lose a game during the regular season. Remember, in order to blow late leads over Alabama in crushing fashion, you first have to get late leads over Alabama — and the only other team that can say it has done that recently is Clemson. The Bulldogs have proven they can hang with the game’s top programs, and they have the talent to do it again. Now it’s up to Smart, Fromm and company to finally turn that potential into championship results this season. FloridaSEC19849-12,03319859-12,017 Florida StateIndep.198811-12,004198910-22,034 It’s hard to come closer to a national title without winning one than the Georgia Bulldogs did over the past two seasons. In 2017, UGA had a 20-7 second half lead over Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship — at one point, ESPN’s win probability model gave the Dawgs a 92.5 percent chance of winning — before Bama backup QB Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to an incredible comeback win. Last season, the Bulldogs were an elite team again, and yet again they had the Tide on the ropes in the second half of a hugely important game (this time the SEC Championship) before ultimately losing when a backup QB helped engineer another Alabama rally.1In Part II, it was Jalen Hurts relieving an injured Tagovailoa, in a role reversal that Hollywood would have laughed at if you’d pitched it in a movie script. UGA ultimately missed the playoff as a result, despite probably having enough talent to deserve inclusion.If, as they say, the third time is the charm, then this is it for head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia. The team has been good enough to win a championship in each of the previous two seasons, only to be thwarted by extraordinary circumstances — and an extraordinary opponent in the form of Smart’s old boss, Nick Saban. With junior quarterback Jake Fromm coming back for what might be the last time, this could be UGA’s most talented team yet under Smart. But can they finally break through in another college football season that figures to be dominated by Clemson and Alabama?Other teams from history have been as good as the 2017-18 Dawgs in consecutive seasons with zero titles to show for it — but it’s pretty rare. For each team in every season since 1980,2The 1980s can be viewed as the decade that kicked off college football’s true modern era; the Ivy League was moved out of Division I-A in 1982, for instance, while powerhouse programs gained more control over lucrative television revenues, making the sport resemble its professional counterpart more and more. I calculated a “Season Score” based on our Elo ratings. The Season Score takes three measures of a team’s performance — its end-of-season Elo; its average season-long Elo; and its peak Elo3The latter two of which are computed excluding a team’s first three games of the season, to avoid undue influence from preseason ratings (which are based largely on the previous season). — and averages them together to create a composite rating on the same scale as regular Elo, where the FBS average is about 1,500.A Season Score of 2,000 is very impressive; only 100 have happened since 1980, and 33 percent of those teams have won the national championship.4Counting split titles as half-championships. (The best Season Score belongs to Alabama in 2016 — ironically, a team that didn’t win the championship — with a mark of 2,229.) But a score of 2,000 in consecutive seasons is even rarer. Last season, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State joined the ranks of just 43 teams since 1980 to have back-to-back Season Scores of at least 2,000. All but eight of those teams — a number that includes both Georgia and Ohio State — failed to win at least a share of a championship in either season. OregonPac 12201112-22,008201212-12,025 GeorgiaSEC201713-22,077201811-32,007 read more

Bahamians launch independence events with Souse Out on Saturday

first_img Church of God of Prophecy gets new Minister Recommended for you Bahamian man busted; Prosecutor unable to make smuggling case stick Related Items:bahamian, church of god of prophecy, comedy, david wallace, halleluiah boys, independence day, sheep toungue souse, will stubbs Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 11 Jun 2015 – The One Bahamas Association of the Turks and Caicos forges ahead with plans to commemorate Bahamian Independence in the Turks and Caicos, despite recent remarks that the events are not welcomed. A souse out is planned for the TCI Bank parking lot on Saturday, as the organization which last year donated to the HOPE Foundation for Autism Awareness gears up for a number of activities surrounding the July 10th 42nd birthday of independent Bahamas. The Souse Out will feature Bahamian favorites including Sheep Tongue Souse and starts as early at 6:30am, this Saturday. Also this weekend Bahamian comedians David Wallace and Will Stubbs will be on island for a Hallelujah Boys show at the Church of God of Prophecy in Five Cays; that happens on Saturday night. Johnny Kemp confirmed dead by Bahamas Consul in Jamaicalast_img read more