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14 December 2020
Prof Abdon Atangana
Prof Abdon Atangana is known for his work in developing a new fractional operator used to model real-world problems arising in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. He was recently awarded the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award by The World Academy of Sciences.

Prof Abdon Atangana, Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), was awarded the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award by The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries.

It is the first time that the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award was bestowed. According to a statement issued by TWAS, this award is given for outstanding mathematical work carried out by a scientist working and living in Africa or the Arab region. It states that the award can be given for work in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, probability, or statistics. Prof Atangana received the award for his contribution to fractal mathematics and partial differential equations.

Making a difference in society

He is known for his research in developing a new fractional operator, the Atangana-Baleanu operator, which is used to model real-world problems. With this operator, he not only describes the rate at which something will change, but also account for disrupting factors that will help to produce better projections.

His work can be applied to make complicated predictions in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. His models can, for instance, help to predict the spread of infectious diseases among people in a settlement, forecasting the number of people who will be infected each day, the number of people who will recover, and the number of people who will die.

Prof Atangana’s models can also help to advise people drilling for water by predicting how groundwater is flowing in a complex geological formation. These are only two examples of how his work can be applied to make a difference in society.

The award from TWAS is the third prestigious commendation he has received in the past month. He was recently named as one of the top 1% scientists on the global Clarivate Web of Science list. His name also appeared on a global list of leading scientists published by Stanford University in the United States. The list is the result of a study published in PLOS Biology, a peer-reviewed open-access journal.

World’s most accomplished scientists

Honours awarded by TWAS and its partners are among the most prestigious for research in the developing world. They recognise outstanding achievements and contributions to science and acknowledge the best work by scientists from the global South.

TWAS, founded in 1983 by a group of scientists under the leadership of Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, believes that developing nations – by growing strength in science and engineering – will be able to address challenges such as hunger, disease, and poverty, through their knowledge and skills.

TWAS is represented in 100 countries, and of the more than a thousand elected fellows, 14 are Nobel laureates. Eighty-four percent of these fellows are from developing nations. TWAS fellows are also some of the world’s most accomplished scientists.

News Archive

HIV Cure – Just another fantasy?
2016-07-27

Description: HIV Cure – Just another fantasy? Tags: HIV Cure – Just another fantasy?

Dr Dominique Goedhals, Prof John Frater,
Dr Thabiso Mofokeng and Dr Jacob Jansen van Vuuren,
attended the lecture. Prof Frater has been working in
collaboration with the UFS Department of Internal
Medicine on HIV resistance and HIV immunology
since 2007.

Photo: Nonsindiso Qwabe

Twenty-years ago, after a person had been diagnosed with HIV, their lifespan did not exceed three years, but thanks to the success of antiretroviral therapy programmes, life expectancy has risen by an average of ten years. However, is antiretroviral therapy always going to be for life? This is the societal issue that Professor John Frater, addressed in his talk at the University of the Free State. He is an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow, Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at  Oxford University.

Antiretroviral medicine therapeutic

The discovery of antiretroviral therapy - the use of HIV medicines to treat the virus - has had a positive effect on the health and well-being of people living with it, improving their quality of life. Unfortunately, if treatment is stopped, HIV rebounds to the detriment of the patient. Now, research has shown that some patients, who are treated soon after being infected by HIV, may go off treatment for prolonged periods. Work is being done to predict who will be able to stop treatment.

“The difference made by starting treatment earlier is enormous. Delaying treatment is denying yourself the right to health,” Professor Frater says. However, this does not mean that the virus is cured. “A person can live for ten years without being on HIV treatment, but is that enough?” he went on to ask.

Healthy lifestyles encouraged

The National Department of Health will adopt a test and treat immediately strategy later this year to improve patient health and curb the spread of HIV. ,This is another reason why everybody should know their status and start treatment as soon as possible.

Search for a cure continues

More research is being conducted to establish whether HIV can be eradicated. Remission gives hope that a permanent cure may be found eventually. “Will a cure for HIV ever be found? Time will tell,” he concluded.

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