Professor Malik Peiris of Sri Lanka and Professor Yuen Kwok-yung from the University of Hong Kong have been awarded the ‘Life Science Prize’ under the 2021 Future Science Prize.
The duo received the prize along with its monetary reward of US$ 1 million in recognition of their work contributing to the understanding of emerging diseases such as Sars and Covid-19.
A statement from the Future Science Prize said the pair have made “seminal contributions to our understanding of emerging infectious diseases from Sars in 2003 to Covid-19, which led to more effective responses and strategies in controlling these diseases.”
It noted that during the Sars outbreak, Professor Peiris, Professor Yuen and their team treated the first patients in Hong Kong, and their work was critical to the design of diagnostic tests.
It said this work had greatly increased understanding of zoonotic viruses and cross-species transmission, and predicted the re-emergence of a Sars-like epidemic and the importance of public health preparedness.
The award ceremony will be held in Beijing on November 21. Prof. Malik Peiris is a Sri Lankan pathologist and virologist who is based in Hong Kong.
The Future Science Prize, also dubbed as the ‘Chinese Nobel’, is a privately funded science prize established by a group of renowned scientists and entrepreneurs in 2016 to promote scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the Greater China region including mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
The Prize is given in three categories with US$1 million of prize money for each award — namely Life Science Prize, Physical Science Prize, and Mathematics and Computer Science Prize.