Infectious Disease expert wins 2020 Mahathir Science Award

Prof Sir Alimuddin Zumla

KUALA LUMPUR: Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health at University College London, United Kingdom, Prof Sir Alimuddin Zumla was announced as the recipient of the 2020 Mahathir Science Award (MSA), the prestigious international Science Award for Tropical Sciences.

MSA in a statement today said Alimuddin, who was born and raised in Zambia, has been granted the award in Tropical Medicine in recognition of his outstanding contributions to global health particularly in tropical infectious diseases.

His research and capacity development work across multiple countries have allowed for improved health policy and outcomes for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB), TB/HIV co-infections and infectious diseases with epidemic potential.

“Utilising his extensive experience in infectious diseases and global collaboration, Alimuddin also played a role in initiating multidisciplinary collaborative research, capacity building, training and advocacy projects for Covid-19 with collaborators from China, Portugal, Italy, France, Ireland, Africa and Middle East,” the statement said.

In keeping with current global and national requirements due to Covid-19, MSA said the prize giving ceremony was held for the first time in the recipient’s home country virtually.

In previous years, the prize has been given out by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in a private ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

In his acceptance speech for the award, Alimuddin who is also the Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that individual efforts do not win prizes and medals.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with thousands of wonderful people worldwide. Thus, the Mahathir Science Award awarded to me reflects the commitment, dedication and hard work of my research teams, collaborators and friends across the world,” he said.

Alimuddin joins the ranks of other MSA Laureates which include the late Prof Yuan Longping, world-renowned agronomist known as the “The Father of Hybrid Rice”; Prof Malik Peiris, the scientist who first isolated the SARS virus and; Prof Rita Colwell, globally recognised environmental microbiologist and the first ever female director of former the United States’ National Science Foundation.

MSA Laureates receive $100,000, a solid gold medal and a certificate as their prize. – Bernama