Mr. Armand Philip Bester

Armand is a dedicated biochemist/virologist with expertise in molecular biology and bioinformatics. In 2011, Armand took on the role of Assistant Researcher, focusing on the development and application of an HIV resistance genotyping assay. He was responsible for data analysis and the management of collected genotypes and clinical information. Since 2015, he has been working as a Medical Scientist in Virology at NHLS Universitas in Bloemfontein. In this position, Armand’s responsibilities include conducting virology research, overseeing testing procedures, and ensuring quality control. He has also contributed to next-generation sequencing and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, aiding in sample selection, bioinformatics analysis, and genome consensus generation.

Throughout his career, Armand has made significant contributions to the field of virology. He has developed an HIV drug resistance assay and played a crucial role in its validation, ensuring its accuracy and precision. He is an active member of the national NHLS HIV drug resistance subcommittee, contributing to discussions on operational aspects, quality assurance, clinical applications, and research related to HIV drug resistance. Armand’s expertise and dedication have led to the accreditation of the assay and its integration into the NHLS facilities.

Furthermore, Armand has excelled in the area of bioinformatics and data analysis. He has developed a phylogenetic pipeline for HIV drug resistance testing and published his work in PLOS ONE. This pipeline has become an essential part of quality control in drug resistance testing facilities. Armand has also demonstrated his proficiency in programming languages such as Python and R, utilizing them for statistical analysis, creating evaluation reports, and solving real-world problems.

As an avid learner, Armand constantly strives to improve his coding abilities and statistical knowledge. He actively engages in online training courses and utilizes platforms like Udemy and freeCodeCamp to enhance his skills.