Professor Malik Peiris is a clinical and public health virologist with a particular interest in emerging virus disease at the animal-human interface including influenza, coronaviruses 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 research has provided understanding on the emergence and pathogenesis of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and on avian influenza viruses H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9. His collaborative research has 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. Currently he is researching the recently emerged MERS coronavirus.
He coordinates an 8 year multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional Area of Excellence Program of the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong on the Control of Pandemic and Inter-pandemic Influenza. He is also an investigator in the Centres of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) program of NIAID, National Institutes of Health, USA. He has collaborative research activities with researchers in Europe through EU Framework research grants such as EMPERIE (FP7) on emerging infectious diseases and FLUPIG on influenza viruses in swine.
He co-directs the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory at HKU and serves on many standing committees and ad-hoc advisory committees of the WHO and FAO.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2006, awarded the Chevalier de la Legion dHonneur, France (2007), Mahathir Science Award, Akademi Sains, Malaysia (2007) and Silver Bauhinia Star (S.B.S.), Hong Kong SAR (2008). He serves on the editorial boards of Lancet Infectious Diseases and PLoS Medicine.