SA scientist up for UK award

2010-08-03 20:04

Cape Town – South African entrepreneur Avi Lasarow, whose company is managing the DNA identification process of the victims who died in the Johannesburg-to-Tripoli Libyan plane crash earlier this year, is a finalist in the "Entrepreneur of the Year" category of the UK's National Business Awards for the second year running.

Lasarow is one of only 10 finalists in the category, and was chosen for his professional and sensitive handling of the process of identifying plane crash victims through DNA.

Trimega Laboratories acted swiftly once the work was confirmed by the Libyan authorities and within a matter of days had DNA samples of all the passengers and crew who died when the plane went down at Tripoli airport.

The samples are being matched to relatives to ensure that every family is treated with dignity and can be certain they are taking the remains of their deceased loved
ones home for burial.

Trimega Laboratories also brought the Drugalyser narcotic testing system to South Africa in 2008, but the latest nomination comes in a year that has seen the company expanding its hair strand testing for drugs and alcohol.

Hair analysis not only determines the presence of an illegal substance, but it can also provide an accurate historical record of substance misuse. This helps in differentiating between a one-off user and a chronic substance abuser.

The number of organisations entering the National Business Awards in 2010 increased by more than 40% compared to last year and includes Unilever, Marks & Spencer, American Express and Coca-Cola.

Lasarow said it was an honour to be a finalist. "The standard of applications was exceptionally high and to be among only 10 business people from around the whole of the UK selected in the entrepreneur category is marvellous."

Winners will be announced in November in London.