Professor Malik Peiris, Director of the Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2I), Honorary Director of HKU-Pasteur, received the 2021 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award alongside his long-time collaborator Professor Yi Guan for his significant contributions to understanding the origins and options for control of newly emerging infectious disease outbreaks in Asia, notably zoonotic influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
More specifically, Malik Peiris and Yi Guan have identified the emerging coronavirus responsible for SARS in 2003 and described its emergence from wild animal markets in Guangdong, China.
Additionally, they have published numerous papers on avian influenzas (such as H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9), and developed a highly effective monitoring and surveillance program of avian and swine influenza strains.
Their work led to drastic measures in live poultry markets to limit animal to human transmission, establishing new protocols for periodic live poultry market closures, emptying markets of poultry overnight to reduce virus amplification within these markets and the appropriate use of poultry vaccines to protect both poultry and people.
The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes the world’s leading researchers who have used rational, scientifically based research to improve the wellbeing of those facing health inequalities worldwide. While a single significant scientific discovery would continue to be sufficient evidence to select a nominee, the Award will also recognize outstanding researchers who apply rational scientific approaches to successful implementation, evaluation and policy interventions.
> Malik Peiris recently gave an interview for CellPress: One world, one health > The Globe and Mail: Gairdner awards honour microbiologists whose insights into animal-to-human infections came in handy in a pandemic > Mirage News: HKUMed scholars receive 2021 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award > Canadian Gairdner Awards video