Professor Zhong Nanshan, a leading figure in the combat of the 2003 SARS epidemic in China, was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Birmingham at a special graduation ceremony in Guangzhou.
Head of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases and probably the most high profile public face in the war against SARS, Professor Zhong is a recipient of numerous honours and has received wide recognition for his work, including the Presidency of the Chinese Medical Association between 2005 and 2010. In 2009, Professor Zhong was honoured as one of China’s top 100 most influential citizens during the 60 years since the founding of the People’s Republic.
During the 2003 outbreak of SARS, as the leading respiratory clinician in Guangzhou, Professor Zhong, together with his team, proposed to admit all the critical SARS cases in Guangdong province into his institute. Through unravelling the nature of the virus, Professor Zhong helped bring calm to the nation and enabled a greater disaster to be averted.
Professor Zhong has conducted groundbreaking research in asthma and, most notably, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a major cause of death in China. Under his leadership, the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases became the first of its kind in China to be designated Key State Laboratory of Respiratory Diseases.