The WHO honored two scientists for their research that was key in the fight against Ebola and HIV

The Congolese virologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum and the Belgian doctor Peter Piot were recognized by the WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) delivered this Sunday recognitions to two scientists who dedicated their lives to research that changed the course of diseases like Ebola and HIVand that were key in finding the pathogens that cause them and in the ways to combat them.

The Congolese virologist and director general of the National Institute for Biomedical Research of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfumreceived the award for his leadership in the field of health, to which he contributed by developing forms of treatment for Ebola, a highly contagious and deadly hemorrhagic fever.

The same prize was awarded to the Belgian physician and microbiologist Peter Piotspecialized in HIV research and whose initiative was fundamental for the establishment of the United Nations Fund for AIDS and the Global Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, international entities that have supported poor countries in the fight and control these diseases.

In addition, Muyembe-Tamfum and Piot had a key collaboration in identifying the Ebola virus when they were both researchers.

The Congolese virologist was part of the team that discovered Ebola during the first epidemic outbreak that was detected in 1976 in the province of Equator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and later collaborated in the conception of the treatment.

The WHO also highlighted its efforts to build scientific capacities within its country to reduce reliance on tests carried out abroad at a time when it becomes more urgent to take action to curb the spread of infectious diseases.

Piot also worked on the first bringing Ebola under control by participating in this effort as a research epidemiologist.

The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the inauguration of the annual assembly of the organization (REUTERS / Denis Balibouse)
The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the inauguration of the annual assembly of the organization (REUTERS / Denis Balibouse) (DENIS BALIBOUSE /)

“Their combined stories and successes show how far the world has come in terms of global, regional and country-level collaboration to strengthen preparedness and response to health emergencies,” said WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuspresenting them with their awards at the opening of the organization’s annual meeting in Geneva.

The World Health Organization inaugurated this Sunday its annual assembly, which commemorates 75 years of existence and important progress in public health, and during which it will seek that the States guarantee more stable financing to carry out its work and that they support a new international treaty for the world to better face future pandemics.

“Like the framework treaty for tobacco control, the treaty on pandemics that member states are negotiating should be a historic agreement that marks a paradigm shift in health security,” Tedros said.

The treaty that includes all tobacco control measures is the only legal instrument negotiated at the WHO and currently legally binds 182 countries.

The WHO hopes that the treaty on pandemics, which seeks to remedy the greatest deficiencies that were observed in the fight against covid-19, will become the second agreement of this category within a year, since the intention is to be approved at the 2024 WHO assembly.

With information from EFE

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