Professor Malik Peiris joined The University of Hong Kong in 1995, and is now Chair of Virology at the School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. He co-directs the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory and the WHO SARS-CoV-2 reference laboratory at The University of Hong Kong. Currently, he serves on many Hong Kong and WHO advisory committees, including the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on COVID-19.
He is a clinical and public health virologist with a particular interest in emerging viral diseases at the animal-human interface – using a “One-Health” approach. His research encompasses the pathogenesis, innate immune responses, transmission, ecology and epidemiology of human and animal influenza viruses such as avian influenza subtypes H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9, the emergence of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 from swine, and coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2.
In 2003, Professor Peiris and his research team discovered SARS-CoV, a novel coronavirus, as the etiological agent for SARS. He has contributed to understanding the emergence, spread and pathogenesis of SARS – and of viral zoonotic avian influenza diseases, including their control. He has served on WHO missions to Saudi Arabia on MERS and to China on avian influenza H7N9. His research team is currently investigating the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Peiris has over 800 peer reviewed research publications in international scientific journals, which have been cited over 76,000 times. In recognition of his research contributions, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (2006). He has received the Mahathir Science Award, Akademi Sains, Malaysia (2007); a Silver Bauhinia Star, Hong Kong SAR (2008); the Medal “100 Years of Virology” of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (2009); and the title Officier de la Legion d’Honneur, Republic of France (2017). He was elected a Foreign Associate of National Academy of Sciences, USA (2017), and awarded the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award (2021).
Professor Peiris had his undergraduate medical education in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), followed by postgraduate training in virology at the University of Oxford, UK.
- Peiris JSM, Lai ST, Poon LL, Guan Y, Yam LY, Lim W, Nicholls J, Yee WK, Yan WW, Cheung MT, Cheng VC, Chan KH, Tsang DN, Yung RW, Ng TK, Yuen KY. Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet. 2003; 361:1319-25.
- Peiris JSM, Chu CM, Cheng VCC, Chan KS, Hung IFN, Poon LLM, Law KI, Tang BSF, Hon TYW, Chan CS, Chan KH, Ng JSC, Zheng BJ, Ng WL, Lai RWM, Guan Y, Yuen KY. Clinical progression and viral load in a community outbreak of coronavirus-associated SARS pneumonia: a prospective study. Lancet. 2003; 361: 1767-72.
- Cheung CY, Poon LL, Lau AS, Luk W, Lau YL, Shortridge KF, Gordon S, Guan Y, Peiris JSM. Induction of proinflammatory cytokines in human macrophages by influenza A (H5N1) viruses: a mechanism for the unusual severity of human disease? Lancet. 2002; 360:1831-7.
- Li KS, Guan Y, Wang J, Smith GJ, Xu KM, Duan L, Rahardjo AP, Puthavathana P, Buranathai C, Nguyen TD, Estoepangestie AT, Chaisingh A, Auewarakul P, Long HT, Hanh NT, Webby RJ, Poon LL, Chen H, Shortridge KF, Yuen, KY, Webster RG, Peiris JSM. Genesis of a highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1 influenza virus in eastern Asia. Nature. 2004; 430: 209-13.
- Chan MC, Kuok DI, Leung CY, Hui KP, Valkenburg SA, Lau EH, Nicholls JM, Fang X, Guan Y, Lee JW, Chan RW, Webster RG, Matthay MA, Peiris JSM. Human mesenchymal stromal cells reduce influenza A H5N1-associated acute lung injury in vitro and in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113:3621-6.
- Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, Liang L, Huang H, Hong Z, Yu J, Kang M, Song Y, Xia J, Guo Q, Song T, He J, Yen HL, Peiris M, Wu J. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. N Engl J Med. 2020; 382:1177-1179.
- Chu DKW, …Peiris M, Poon LLM. Molecular Diagnosis of a Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Causing an Outbreak of Pneumonia. Clin Chem. 2020; 66: 549-555.
- Sit THC, Brackman CJ, Ip SM, Tam KWS, Law PYT, To EMW, Yu VYT, Sims LD, Tsang DNC, Chu DKW, Perera RAPM, Poon LLM, Peiris M. Infection of dogs with SARS-CoV-2. Nature. 2020; 586:776-778.
- Sia SF, Yan LM, Chin AWH, Fung K, Choy KT, Wong AYL, Kaewpreedee P, Perera RAPM, Poon LLM, Nicholls JM, Peiris M, Yen HL. Pathogenesis and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in golden hamsters. Nature. 2020;583:834-838.
- Lau EHY, Tsang OTY, Hui DSC, Kwan MYW, Chan WH, Chiu SS, Ko RLW, Chan KH, Cheng SMS, Perera RAPM, Cowling BJ, Poon LLM, Peiris M. Neutralizing antibody titres in SARS-CoV-2 infections. Nat Commun. 2021;12:63.
- Leung NHL, Chu DKW, Shiu EYC, Chan KH, McDevitt JJ, Hau BJP, Yen HL, Li Y, Ip DKM, Peiris JSM, Seto WH, Leung GM, Milton DK, Cowling BJ. Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks. Nat Med. 2020;26:676-680.
- Chu DKW, Hui KPY, Perera RAPM, Miguel E, Niemeyer D, Zhao J, Channappanavar R, Dudas G, Oladipo JO, Traoré A, Fassi-Fihri O, Ali A, Demissié GF, Muth D, Chan MCW, Nicholls JM, Meyerholz DK, Kuranga SA, Mamo G, Zhou Z, So RTY, Hemida MG, Webby RJ, Roger F, Rambaut A, Poon LLM, Perlman S, Drosten C, Chevalier V, Peiris M*. MERS coronaviruses from camels in Africa exhibit region-dependent genetic diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115: 3144-3149.
- Chan RW, Hemida MG, Kayali G, Chu DK, Poon LL, Alnaeem A, Ali MA, Tao KP, Ng HY, Chan MC, Guan Y, Nicholls JM, Peiris JSM*. Tropism and replication of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus from dromedary camels in the human respiratory tract: an in-vitro and ex-vivo study. Lancet Respir Med. 2014; 2:813-22.
- Vijaykrishna D, Smith GDJ, Pybus OG, Zhu H, Bhatt S, Poon LLM, Riley S, Bahl J, Ma SK, Cheung CL, Perera RAPM, Chen H, Shortridge KF, Webby RJ, Webster RG, Guan Y*, Peiris JSM*. Long-term evolution and transmission dynamics of swine influenza A virus. Nature 2011; 473: 519-22.
- Cowling BJ, Chan KH, Fang VJ, Lau LLH, So THC, Fung ROP Ma ESK, Kwong ASK Chan CW, Tsui WWS, Ngai HY, Chu DWS, Lee PWY, Chiu MC, Leung GM, Peiris JSM. Comparative Epidemiology of Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza A in Households. New Engl J Med 2010; 363: 2175-84.
- Vijaykrishna D, Poon LLM, Zhu HC, Ma SK, Li OTW, Cheung CL, Smith GLD, Peiris JSM*, Guan Y*. Reassortment of pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza A virus in swine. Science 2010; 328: 1529
- Smith GJ, Vijaykrishna D, Bahl J, Lycett SJ, Worobey M, Pybus OG, Ma SK, Cheung CL, Raghwani J, Bhatt S, Peiris JSM, Guan Y, Rambaut A. Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic. Nature. 2009;459:1122-5.
- Nicholls JM, Chan MC, Chan WY, Wong HK, Cheung CY, Kwong DL, Wong MP, Chui WH, Poon LL, Tsao SW, Guan Y, Peiris JSM*. Tropism of avian influenza A (H5N1) in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Nat Med. 2007; 13: 147-9.
- Li KS, Guan Y, Wang J, Smith GJ, Xu KM, Duan L, Rahardjo AP, Puthavathana P, Buranathai C, Nguyen TD, Estoepangestie AT, Chaisingh A, Auewarakul P, Long HT, Hanh NT, Webby RJ, Poon LL, Chen H, Shortridge KF, Yuen KY, Webster RG, Peiris JSM. Genesis of a highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1 influenza virus in eastern Asia. Nature. 2004; 430:209-13.
- Arunachalam PS, Wimmers F, Mok CKP, Perera RAPM, Scott M, Hagan T, Sigal N, Feng Y, Bristow L, Tak-Yin Tsang O, Wagh D, Coller J, Pellegrini KL, Kazmin D, Alaaeddine G, Leung WS, Chan JMC, Chik TSH, Choi CYC, Huerta C, Paine McCullough M, Lv H, Anderson E, Edupuganti S, Upadhyay AA, Bosinger SE, Maecker HT, Khatri P, Rouphael N, Peiris M, Pulendran B. Systems biological assessment of immunity to mild versus severe COVID-19 infection in humans. Science. 2020;369: 1210-1220.
- Hachim A, Kavian N, Cohen CA, Chin AWH, Chu DKW, Mok CKP, Tsang OTY, Yeung YC, Perera RAPM, Poon LLM, Peiris JSM, Valkenburg SA. ORF8 and ORF3b antibodies are accurate serological markers of early and late SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nat Immunol. 2020; 21:1293-1301.
- Mok CKP, Zhu A, Zhao J, Lau EHY, Wang J, Chen Z, Zhuang Z, Wang Y, Alshukairi AN, Baharoon SA, Wang W, Tan W, Liang W, Oladipo JO, Perera RAPM, Kuranga SA, Peiris M*, Zhao J. T-cell responses to MERS coronavirus infection in people with occupational exposure to dromedary camels in Nigeria: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; 21:385-395.
- Zhou Z, Hui KPY, So RTY, Lv H, Perera RAPM, Chu DKW, Gelaye E, Oyas H, Njagi O, Abayneh T, Kuria W, Walelign E, Wanglia R, El Masry I, Von Dobschuetz S, Kalpravidh W, Chevalier V, Miguel E, Fassi-Fihri O, Trarore A, Liang W, Wang Y, Nicholls JM, Zhao J, Chan MCW, Poon LLM, Mok CKP, Peiris M*. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of MERS coronaviruses from Africa to understand their zoonotic potential. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021; 118: e2103984118.