Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, will next week join our webinar series in which local practitioners can interact with global experts in dealing with COVID-19, writes MedicalBrief. One of the most eminent microbiologists of our time, Professor Piot will be in conversation with Professor Linda-Gail Bekker of the University of Cape Town, on the topic: On the Frontline: What to do and what not to do.
The webinar, next Thursday, 4 June 2020 at 7pm (CAT), is part of a series hosted by Discovery Health in conjunction with MedicalBrief, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, the SA Medical Association, the SA Private Practitioners Forum and the Unity Forum for Family Practitioners.
Details of further webinars will be announced. All are free of charge and registered for CPD points.
The webinars are designed to make accessible to local practitioners the frontline expertise of leading global experts in an hour-long format that will allow for discussion and a robust exchange of ideas.
Professor Piot is the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and a pioneering researcher into HIV/Aids. He a founding director of UNAIDS, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, as well as the Academy of Medical Sciences, in the United Kingdom. He is currently coronavirus adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, who is facilitating the series of webinars, is deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at UCT. She is chief pperating officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, and principal investigator of the US National Institutes of Health-funded University of Cape Town Clinical Trials Unit. Prof Bekker is also the immediate past president of the International AIDS Society and co-chair of the Research For Prevention (R4P) Conference 2020.
Professor Piot was part of the World Health Organisation's the Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response, as well chair of an independent panel convened into the national and international response to the Eboal epidemic. The panel, writes Wikipedia, sharply criticised the response of the WHO and put forward 10 recommendations for the body's reorganisation.
In February 2020, he criticised the delay in declaring the 2019-20 novel coronavirus outbreak in China and Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and advocated a five-point scale for outbreaks, rather the current binary (emergency/no emergency) system.
He has also personally survived the coronavirus infection, which he described in an interview with Science as a "life-changing experience". "After fighting viruses all over the world for more than 40 years, I have become an expert in infections. I’m glad I had corona and not Ebola, although I read a scientific study yesterday that concluded you have a 30% chance of dying if you end up in a British hospital with COVID-19. That’s about the same overall mortality rate as for Ebola in 2014 in West Africa. That makes you lose your scientific level-headedness at times, and you surrender to emotional reflections.
"Many people think COVID-19 kills 1% of patients, and the rest get away with some flulike symptoms. But the story gets more complicated. Many people will be left with chronic kidney and heart problems. Even their neural system is disrupted. There will be hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, possibly more, who will need treatments such as renal dialysis for the rest of their lives. The more we learn about the coronavirus, the more questions arise. We are learning while we are sailing. That’s why I get so annoyed by the many commentators on the sidelines who, without much insight, criticise the scientists and policymakers trying hard to get the epidemic under control. That’s very unfair."
Register here for Prof Piot's webinar
Professor Piot biographical details
Full Science interview with Professor Piot
Previous webinars in this series: