Outstanding Scholastic Achievement


On A Mission to Defeat Viral Threats
For over 40 years, Academician Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr. Lam Sai Kit has been a leading figure in infectious viral disease research. He gained prominence for being a part of the medical team that identified the Nipah virus, successfully containing a severe encephalitis outbreak in Malaysia in 1999. 

Professor Lam has been actively involved in the WHO Programme on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) since 1990. Throughout this period, his team played a crucial role in discovering viruses, aiding in outbreak containment, and initiating surveillance for some of the most critical viral infections in the region. 


Meet the internationally recognised virologist
Professor Lam’s interest in the field of epidemiology first began while he was conducting his PhD research on viruses and wildlife at the Australian National University. However, even before completing his PhD, Professor Lam was offered a position as a virologist at the new Faculty of Medicine at University of Malaya in 1966. 

In subsequent years, Professor Lam developed new tools for diagnosing viral infections, an accomplishment that led to the designation of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya as a WHO National Center for Rapid Viral Diagnosis in 1980. 

Actively engaged in the WHO Programme on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) since 1990, Professor Lam's team made key discoveries, including identifying viruses causing fatal encephalitis and outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease. They also uncovered the cause of polyarthritis in Malaysia (chikungunya virus) and a Hantavirus-like infection associated with renal diseases.  


Helping save lives, one virus at a time
Professor Lam's 40-year research into dengue, a global public health problem in developing countries, is recognised worldwide, leading to the reduction of morbidity and mortality of this disease.  

His research has contributed to the advancement of knowledge about the virus, encompassing insights into the immunopathogenesis of the disease, early diagnosis and medical intervention, and the development of an early warning system to predict severe dengue outbreaks. 

Besides dengue, Professor Lam played a crucial role in the discovery and containment of the Nipah virus in 1998 as a member of the Nipah Encephalitis Investigating Team from University of Malaya.  


Trailblazing work in virology and beyond
In addition to advancing virology knowledge in Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific region and making significant contributions to global rapid viral diagnosis, Professor Lam established the Asia Pacific Society for Medical Virology in 1982, which boasts a diverse membership from 40 countries. 

His expertise in vector-borne diseases, particularly dengue, garnered international recognition, including prestigious awards such as the Knight of the National Order of Merit, France, and the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health from the King of Thailand. 

Professor Lam serves as Emeritus Professor and High Impact Research Consultant at University of Malaya (UM) while managing the Ministry of Education’s special allocation given out to high impact research projects. 


The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile. 


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