Public Lecture by Professor Zhong Nan-Shan: From SARS to MERS and Zika: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward in Combating Emerging Infectious Diseases


Date:                15 June 2016 (Wednesday) 
Time:                6:00-7:00 pm (Tea Reception starts at 5:30 pm)
Venue:              Large Moot Court, 2/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU (Map)


Various infectious disease crises, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), avian and swine influenza virus, Ebola, and most recently Zika, have devastated the lives of thousands of people around the world. Early identification of these novel pathogens and early diagnosis are the most important strategy for containing such emerging disease outbreaks. It took 139 days to identify the SARS coronavirus in 2003 but only 37 days to identify the H7N9 influenza virus in 2013, indicating a significant progress in the speed of detecting new pathogens over the last decade. Early clinical suspicion of unusual disease events is critical to such rapid responses. Professor Zhong Nan-Shan will consider the lessons learned in coping with these outbreaks in the past years and share with us how we could use this experience to improve our pandemic preparedness and emergency response to infectious disease crises.

About the speaker

Professor Zhong Nan-Shan, Professor of Medicine at Guangzhou Medical University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is Director of the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease and the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease. A leading figure in the combat of the SARS epidemic in China in 2003, Professor Zhong is revered as a fearless advocate for good clinical care and for a rapid and transparent response to the outbreak. More recently, Professor Zhong is again at the medical frontlines, leading his team in the fight against highly pathogenic avian flu H5N1, the pandemic H1N1 of 2009 and avian influenza H7N9. Professor Zhong is widely recognized for his contributions to the advancement of respiratory medical sciences and remains a very influential figure in infectious disease control and respiratory medicine in China and internationally. 

As a leader and principal investigator of more than 10 major scientific projects, Professor Zhong has published more than 200 papers in SCI journals including the highly prestigious Lancet, which conferred upon him Paper of the Year and honored him as “the leader of clinical research in China” in 2008. He is the recipient of a variety of international and local academic awards, including the European Respiratory Society Lifetime Honorary Fellow (2008), honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh (2007), the University of Birmingham (2011), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2013), and the University of Macau (2015), second-class and third-class of the State Scientific and Technological Progress Awards and selection as one of China’s top 100 most influential citizens during the 60 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.