Leading The Quest For Knowledge
HKUMed researchers have made groundbreaking discoveries about the science of COVID-19 that have informed coping strategies by governments and organisations around the world. We had several world firsts early on that
provided critical insights on the transmission and infectious nature of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. We have since continued to produce a steady stream of research as our understanding of the virus and pandemic becomes more advanced.
A crucial factor behind our contributions has been our lightning-quick response to the outbreak, honed by years of working on infectious diseases. Our first major test was the 2003 SARS outbreak, after which we recruited new expertise, created new teams, strengthened existing ones, and put a sharp focus on producing scientific evidence about infectious diseases. Our growing research strength in this area has attracted funding success and collaborators from around the nation and the world, including the World
Health Organization which established a WHO Collaborating Centre in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control (WHO Collaborating Centre) and a WHO Reference Laboratory for H5N1 Influenza in our Faculty, and the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Recently, five @InnoHK hubs led by HKUMed scholars each received hundreds of millions of dollars to pursue cutting-edge research that will, among other things,
advance our ability to fight infectious diseases.
Our collective experience and expertise meant that when COVID-19 started to hit the radar in early January, HKUMed scholars were the right people in the right place at the right time — close to the epicentre, but not in harm’s way, and able to draw on all the lessons of the past to quickly ascertain the nature of this disease and the virus causing it. Our preparedness helped us to secure a total of HK$97.288 million for commissioned research projects on COVID-19 under the Health and Medical Research Fund by Food and Health Bureau, HKSAR Government, in 2020. The work is ongoing and the key findings to date are described on these pages.
An important feature of our work has been collaboration. Researchers across disciplines and countries are working against the clock on COVID-19. Within the Faculty, multiple disciplines have been helping to shed light — not only microbiology, pathology and epidemiology, but such disciplines as paediatrics, cardiology, surgery, medicine and biomedical sciences.
COVID-19 remains a moving target. Outbreaks will continue to happen even in places that previously had the virus under control. Our scholars are continuing to attack this problem from all angles. Stay tuned to HKUMed’s website and social media accounts for the latest findings from our COVID-19 research.