Peter Piot awarded Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize
The Director of the School, Professor Peter Piot, will be awarded the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Medical Research, the Government of Japan announced today.
The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize honours outstanding achievements in the fields of medical research and medical services to combat infectious and other diseases in Africa. Professor Piot will formally receive the award from the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, on 1 June, the opening day of the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V).
This will be only the second time the award has been made since its inauguration. The laureates of the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, awarded in 2008, are Professor Sir Brian Greenwood, also at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and leading Kenyan public health advocate Professor Miriam Were.
The Prime Minister, advised by the Prize Committee, has chosen to honour Professor Piot for his pivotal research on disease endemic in the African continent. This includes bringing AIDS to the forefront of global attention and for developing scientifically-grounded responses to the control and treatment of the disease.
Peter began his career in the early 1970s at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, in his native Belgium, and did much collaborative research in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Kenya and other countries in Africa. He was a co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and a pioneer in understanding the AIDS epidemic in Africa in the 1980s. He has published over 500 scientific papers and articles, and 16 books, including his memoirs published last year, No Time To Lose: a life in pursuit of deadly viruses.
For more than 25 years, he has led world-wide efforts to research and tackle AIDS and other threats to global health as founding Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Professor Piot said: “I am deeply honoured and grateful to have been considered for this award. Dr Noguchi holds a special place in the history of medical research and was in many ways a pioneer of what we now call global health.
“While we have collectively achieved many successes, infectious diseases are far from under control, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. New pathogens will continue to emerge, and we must sustain local and global efforts for many years to come.”
Sir Tim Lankester, Chairman of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Council, said: “We are delighted for Peter, and congratulate him on this tremendous recognition. He is an inspiring leader, a scientist who is also a passionate and highly effective advocate for global and public health.
“Since joining the School in 2010, Peter has built on its historic success as a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education, and has worked with colleagues to develop a new strategic direction and focus. We have very ambitious plans for the School under Peter Piot’s leadership, and I am confident that these will be realised in the years ahead.”
Image: Peter addressing a community in Livingston, Zambia