PolyU launches 80th Anniversary Global Leader Lecture Series with WHO talk
[Sponsored Article] The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year with a Global Leader Lecture Series in which influential leaders in different professions around the globe will be invited to PolyU to deliver lectures on a wide range of topics covering healthcare, business, innovation and entrepreneurship, art and culture, sports and sustainable urban development. The series will provide the university community with a unique opportunity to learn from the stimulating insights and fresh perspectives of the speakers, and help inspire students to dream big and to bring positive changes to the world.
Kicking off the series, the Faculties of Applied Science and Textiles (FAST) and Health and Social Sciences (FHSS) of PolyU had the honour of having Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, of the World Health Organization (WHO) to present a lecture entitled "Vaccine Development during the Ebola Public Health Emergency: Lessons Learnt and Perspectives for Enhanced Preparedness" which took place on 15th February.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever was first described in 1976. The most widespread Ebola outbreak on record began in Guinea in December 2013, infecting more than 28,000 and killing over 11,300 people in many countries including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by 2016. In the absence of vaccines, and with insufficient diagnostics and medical teams, WHO led the development of an effective vaccine, demonstrating the possibility of compressing the research and development (R&D) time needed from a decade or longer to less than one year. During 2015-2016, Dr Kieny played a leading role in WHO's Ebola research activities by developing and evaluating innovative antiviral drugs and vaccines. She is currently in charge of Zika Virus R&D in WHO as well as the preparation of a WHO R&D Blueprint to accelerate global research preparedness for future outbreaks. During the lecture, she highlighted the challenges that global public health agencies face when devising response to control emerging infectious diseases.