University of Hong Kong
Guan and Peiris were jointly awarded the 2021 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for their significant contributions to understanding the origins of emerging infectious disease outbreaks in Asia, notably zoonotic influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The pair started collaborating in the wake of Hong Kong’s H5N1 avian flu outbreak, initiating foundational studies on the virus’ evolution and developing a highly effective monitoring and surveillance program. During the 2003 SARS outbreak, Peiris led the team that first identified the virus responsible for the syndrome, SARS-CoV-1, while Guan traced the virus’ origins to the wild animal markets in Guangdong, China. Together, their pioneering investigations into emerging infectious diseases have provided critical insights in subsequent outbreaks, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photo: University of Hong Kong)
- 2021 John Dirks Canada Global Health Award