Professor Malik Peiris is professor and chair in virology at the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong. He is a clinical and public health virologist with a particular interest in emerging virus disease at the animal-human interface using a “One Health” approach, including influenza, coronaviruses (SARS, MERS) and others.
His current research encompasses the pathogenesis, innate immune responses, transmission, ecology and epidemiology of human and animal (poultry, swine, wild birds) influenza viruses. His collaborative research has provided understanding on the emergence and pathogenesis of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and on avian influenza viruses H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9. These studies have provided evidence-based options for the control of these viruses in poultry and in humans.
In 2003, he played a key role in the discovery that a novel coronavirus was the cause of SARS, its diagnosis and pathogenesis and contributed to its control. Currently he is researching the recently emerged MERS coronavirus.
He co-directs the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory at HKU. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2006, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2016 and Foreign Associate of National Academy of Sciences in 2017. He was awarded the Officier de la Legion d’Honneur, France (2017), Mahathir Science Award, Akademi Sains, Malaysia (2007) and Silver Bauhinia Star (S.B.S.), Hong Kong SAR (2008).