A bronze portrait statue of Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943), physician trained at Institut Pasteur, was unveiled as a tribute to his role in identification and isolation of the bacillus Yersinia pestis that caused the bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894. His work paved the way for the development of a vaccine in 1896 which prevented the death of millions.
The statue sitting in the garden of the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences (HKMMS) was unveiled on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the establishment of France–Hong Kong consular relations, and in the presence of the Honourable Dr York YN Chow, GSBS, JP, Secretary for Food and Health, Mr. Jean-Pierre Thébault, Consul general of France in Hong-Kong and Macau, Dr. Laurence LT Hou, Director, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences Society, Dr. Roberto Bruzzone, Chief Executive Officer of HKU- Pasteur Research Centre, and Dr Faith CS Ho, Chairman, Education and Research Committee, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences Society.
Last year, HKU-Pasteur Research Centre co-organized an exhibition entitled “From the Plague to New Emerging Diseases: A Chronicle of Pasteurian Research in Hong Kong” hosted first by the University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) then by the HKMMS to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Institut Pasteur through the life and work of Alexandre Yersin.
Born in 1863 in Switzerland, Yersin studied medicine first in Lausanne and then in Marburg, Germany. He joined Institut Pasteur in 1886. Though mostly known as the discoverer of the bubonic plague bacillus, he was also remembered by many for introducing various plants and agricultural techniques into Vietnam.