Prof. Wanda Markotter

Name: Prof. Wanda Markotter

Department: Medical Virology

Faculty: Health Sciences

Research entity: Centre for Viral Zoonoses

Position: Director of the Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Professor, NRF-DSI South Africa Research Chair

Tel:  +27 (0)12 319 2353

E-mail: [email protected]



Prof. Wanda Markotter is currently the Director of the Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences. Since January 2016 she is also occupying a DSI-NRF South African Research Chair in “Infectious Diseases of Animals (Zoonoses)”. She is a virologist who has been involved in a transdisciplinary research programme on disease ecology in bat species in South Africa and other African countries. More than 40 postgraduate students already graduated under her supervision, and she has mentored several postdoctoral fellows and emerging researchers. She has published more than 70 scientific publications and several book chapters and regularly contributes to public media forums. Her research is supported by several multi-collaborative international viral surveillance programmes including the Global Disease Detection Programme, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Defence and Threat Reduction Agency, USA.


Virology, Ecology, Zoology, Social Sciences, Mathematical modelling


Research description

Specifically, biosurveillance in African bats species is an important part of this programme and as the diversity of pathogens expand, it is necessary to constantly evaluate the detection capability and sensitivity of our detection assays and generate diagnostic capacity both in-country but also for the region. In addition to virological testing, a transdisciplinary approach is followed that includes data collection on host biology and ecological data as well as environmental to correlate with infection dynamics. High-risk factors and potential contact with human and other animals are identified and mitigation strategies for prevention are implemented. Routes of transmission must be clearly understood since it can be different depending on the virus e.g. urine, faecal, bite and it may be seasonal e.g. only present in the urine during the reproductive season of the bats. This is the basic information needed to start with but this alone will not stop outbreaks. We need to understand contact with people and other animals and risk of transmission. Mitigations strategies to limit opportunities for spillover must be developed in collaboration with governments and all affected parties including society. This programme goes beyond just testing bats for viruses.

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- Author UP-OHC
Published by Tlaishego Nkoana

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