Guan Yi

Last updated

Guan Yi
Born1962 (age 5859)
Nationality Hong Kong
Alma mater Medical College of Nanchang University
Peking Union Medical College
University of Hong Kong
Scientific career
Fields Virology
Institutions University of Hong Kong
Doctoral advisor Kennedy Francis Shortridge
Other academic advisors Robert Webster
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Guan Yi (simplified Chinese :管轶; traditional Chinese :管軼; born 1962) is a Chinese virologist. In 2014, he was ranked as 11th in the world by Thomson Reuters (now known as Clarivate Analytics) [1] among global researchers in the field of microbiology. He obtained his PhD in microbiology at the University of Hong Kong and is now a professor of microbiology at his alma mater. His research on the viral respiratory disease SARS helped the Chinese government avert the 2004 outbreak of this disease. [2] He is the current director (China affairs) [3] of the State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases University of Hong Kong. [4] In early 2017, Guan warned that the H7N9 influenza virus "poses the greatest threat to humanity than any other in the past 100 years." [5]



Guan received his MD degree from the Medical College of Nanchang University (also known as Jiangxi Medical College), his advanced medical degree from Peking Union Medical College, and his PhD from the University of Hong Kong. [2]


Focusing his research on influenza viruses throughout his career, Guan has identified all the major precursors and transmission pathways of the H5N1 variant that circulates in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa and has provided most of the World Health Organization recommended pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccines strains.

Guan has, also, initiated the systematic study of H9N2 viruses, which, along with H5 viruses that are now regarded as the most likely novel influenza subtypes to cause a pandemic.

Guan has defined the role of domestic ducks in harboring and spreading influenza viruses and made major contributions in recognizing the emergence, evolutionary history and development of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus and revealed the genesis, infection source, evolutionary pathway and possible transmission route of the 2017 emerging H7N9 influenza virus. [2] [5] [6]

Guan has also contributed to the identification of animal reservoirs for coronaviruses, leading a team to identify bats as a reservoir host for SARS-CoV [7] and palm civets as an intermediate host for SARS-CoV. [8] [9]

COVID-19 pandemic

Guan Yi has given expert comments on SARS-CoV-2 when interviewed by Caixin, warning that the coronavirus could be 10 times worse than the 2003 Sars outbreak. [10] He said to media, ""I have been through so many [disease outbreaks], and I have never been scared. Most [of the outbreaks] are manageable, but this time I am scared." [11] What he said in his interview with Caixin were apparently different from that in most Chinese media, and it became highly controversial as journalists of state media reposted his previous statement, which he made on 15 January, claiming that the disease was manageable. The journalists also reposted the information that Guan's lab was once fined by the government in 2005. Wang Duan, the Caixin journalist who interviewed Guan Yi, described such behavior as "personal attacks" and complained that no expert had so far come forward to refute what Guan said. [12]

Guan Yi didn't give interview since 23 January. [13]

In mid July when a cluster of resurgent cases in Beijing was reported, Guan was interviewed by iNewsweek journal (中国新闻周刊) which shared his supportive opinion to the speculation that the virus imported into Beijing via contaminated frozen salmon fishes. [14]

In 2005, Time featured Guan as one of its 18 "Global Health Heroes", and in 2006, named him an "Asian Hero" for his influenza virus research work. [15] [16] In 2021 he was awarded the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. [17]

Academic publications

Guan's publication record contained in the United States National Institutes of Health PubMed database shows his having over 280 peer-reviewed articles with over 26,000 citations and an h-index of 79. [2] [18]

Related Research Articles

Severe acute respiratory syndrome Disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, the first identified strain of the SARS coronavirus species severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). The syndrome caused the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak. Around late 2017, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of Asian palm civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Xiyang Yi Ethnic Township, Yunnan.

Spanish flu 1918–1920 pandemic of H1N1 influenza A virus

The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world's population at the time – in four successive waves. The death toll is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 20 million and 50 million, although estimates range from a conservative 17 million to a possible high of 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.

2002–2004 SARS outbreak Epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome originating in China

The 2002–2004 SARS outbreak was an epidemic involving severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The outbreak was first identified in Foshan, Guangdong, China, on 16 November 2002.

Influenza pandemic Epidemic of a flu that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population

An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of an influenza virus that spreads across a large region and infects a large proportion of the population. There have been five in the last 140 years, with the 1918 flu pandemic being the most severe; this pandemic is estimated to have been responsible for the deaths of 50–100 million people. The most recent, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, resulted in under a million deaths and is considered relatively mild. These pandemics occur irregularly.

Global spread of H5N1

The global spread of H5N1 influenza in birds is considered a significant pandemic threat. While other H5N1 influenza strains are known, they are significantly different on a genetic level from a recent, highly pathogenic, emergent strain of H5N1, which was able to achieve hitherto unprecedented global spread in 2008. The H5N1 strain is a fast-mutating, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) found in multiple bird species. It is both epizootic and panzootic. Unless otherwise indicated, "H5N1" in this timeline refers to the recent highly pathogenic strain of H5N1.

Yuen Kwok-yung Hong Kong microbiologist and physician

Yuen Kwok-yung is a Hong Kong microbiologist, physician and surgeon. He is a prolific researcher, with most of his nearly 800 papers related to research on novel microbes or emerging infectious diseases. He led a team identifying the SARS coronavirus that caused the SARS pandemic of 2003–4, and traced its genetic origins to wild bats. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he has acted as expert adviser to the Hong Kong government.

Fujian flu

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Professor Malik Peiris FRS, d'Honneur, is a Sri Lankan pathologist and virologist. He has been long based in Hong Kong. His research interests include ecology, evolution, pathogenesis, epidemiology of animal-human influenza and other human respiratory viral infections, authoring over 320 research publications. Peiris is most notable for being the first person to isolate SARS virus.

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2009 swine flu pandemic in Asia

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Influenza A virus subtype H7N9 Subtype of the influenza A virus

Influenza A virus subtype H7N9 (A/H7N9) is a bird flu strain of the species Influenza virus A. Avian influenza A H7 viruses normally circulate amongst avian populations with some variants known to occasionally infect humans. An H7N9 virus was first reported to have infected humans in March 2013, in China. Cases continued to be reported throughout April and then dropped to only a few cases during the summer months. At the closing of the year, 144 cases had been reported of which 46 had died. It is known that influenza tends to strike during the winter months, and the second wave, which began in October, was fanned by a surge in poultry production timed for Chinese New Year feasts that began at the end of January. January 2014 brought a spike in reports of illness with 96 confirmed reports of disease and 19 deaths. As of April 11, 2014, the outbreak's overall total was 419, including 7 in Hong Kong, and the unofficial number of deaths was 127.

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The COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei was first manifested by a cluster of mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, China. A Wuhan hospital notified the local center for disease control and prevention (CDC) and health commissions on December 27, 2019. On December 31, Wuhan CDC admitted that there was a cluster of unknown pneumonia cases related to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after the unverified documents appeared on the Internet. The potential disease outbreak soon drew nationwide attention including that of the National Health Commission (NHC) in Beijing which sent experts to Wuhan on the following day. On January 8, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of the pneumonia. The sequence of the virus was soon published on an open-access database. Measures taken by China have been controversial. They were praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for improvements over SARS-CoV-2 responses, but maligned by many in the international community for being slow to publicly disclose key facts or deceptive about the outbreak and for aggressively censoring information relating to the outbreak and public discontent from citizens online.

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Civet SARS-CoV is a coronavirus associated with Severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV) infected with masked palm civet, which infected humans and caused SARS events from 2002 to 2003. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is highly similar, with a genome sequence similarity of about 99.8%. Because several patients infected at the early stage of the epidemic had contact with fruit-eating Japanese Raccoon Dog in the market, fruit-eating Tanuki may be a direct source of human SARS coronavirus. At the end of 2003, four more people in Guangzhou, China were infected with the disease. Sequence analysis found that the similarity with the Tanuki virus reached 99.9%, and the SARS coronavirus was also caused by cases of Tanuki transmission.


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  13. in English news and in Chinese news
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