Indian-origin South African scientist Gita Ramjee who died in hospital near the coastal city of Durban on Tuesday after contracting the coronavirus.
Gita Ramjee had been working as the chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute, a leading authority in the fight against HIV and TB, reports the BBC.
The 50-year old Ramjee was also the Clinical Trials Unit Principal Investigator and Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) offices in Durban.
"We are deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic passing of Prof Gita Ramjee in hospital today," said a statement issued by SAMRC President and CEO Glenda Gray.
South Africa has begun a three-week lockdown as part of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.