Renowned microbiologist Yuen Kuk-young and virologist David Ho start a global epidemiological research alliance | Arab Post

Hong Kong SAR – Media Outreach – 14 July 2023 – Professor David Ho, a renowned virologist at Columbia University, and Professor Kwok Young Yuen, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, are collaborating to create a global alliance to conduct research into emerging infectious diseases.

Professor Yuen Kok Young, Professor David Ho and Dean of Medicine Professor Lau Chak Seng

Professor Yuen Kok Young, Professor David Ho and Dean of Medicine Professor Lau Chak Seng

Professor Ho, who is visiting Hong Kong after spending a week in mainland China, said: “We look forward to deeper cooperation with the University of Hong Kong and many of the world’s leading institutions by establishing an ‘epidemiological research alliance.'” Professor Ho currently holds the positions of Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Director Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University.

Other discussion partners include Tsinghua University and the Doherty Institute/University of Melbourne. Professor Hu stated that the alliance will pursue “a comprehensive range of research initiatives on surveillance, diagnostics, antiviral drugs, monoclonal antibodies, viral evolution, therapeutic resistance, antibody engineering, vaccine development, and pathogenesis.” The coalition is expected to focus on respiratory viruses that can be transmitted directly from person to person.

Many emerging infectious diseases begin at the Pacific Rim. It is very important to have an alliance across the Pacific. In the event of another pandemic, we could do much better. “I think the alliance can play a very important role,” said Professor Yuen.

“I am thrilled about this initiative which will undoubtedly open new horizons in scientific research and save lives. Harnessing the combined experiences of outstanding institutions globally, we aim to create transformative solutions,” said Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. To protect the welfare of mankind.”

Professor Hu is one of the first scientists to discover human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and to reveal the dynamics of this virus in infected people. He is also the first scientist to demonstrate the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy for AIDS, and is now able to achieve a near-normal lifespan for a previously incurable disease.

Professors Hu and Yuen first collaborated in 2003 on the use of small molecule inhibitors and a modified recombinant vaccine virus Ankara against the SARS coronavirus.

After his first successful collaboration with the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Hu founded the AIDS Institute at the University of Hong Kong to conduct basic and applied research that facilitates understanding of the etiology of AIDS and the development of effective AIDS vaccines. The many years of collaboration have yielded technical breakthroughs in B- and T-cell immunity, leading to discoveries of neutralizing antibodies and effective HIV vaccines. Professor Zhiwei Chen, Director of the AIDS Institute and Professor of Microbiology at HKUMed, a key member of the team, said that these discoveries are undergoing Phase I or II clinical trials.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, research groups at the University of Hong Kong and Columbia have published eight collaborative articles on SARS-CoV-2 in leading scientific journals, including three articles in Nature, one in Immunity, and one in Science Translational Medicine. The Pandemic Research Alliance will be built on top of this solid foundation of international collaboration.

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