Peter Piot

Q&A with Peter Piot about COVID-19

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About Peter Piot

As founding Executive Director of UNAIDS (1995-2008) and the current Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (since 2010), Peter Piot has led the charge on a number of global pandemics over the past decades. Co-discoverer of the Ebola Virus in 1976, Peter’s expertise also lends itself to global AIDS research and advocacy with a specific regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. In recognition of his leadership and heroic charge against the Ebola Virus, Peter was named 2014 TIME Person of the Year (The Ebola Fighters). Among other key roles, Peter is the first Chair to lead Her Majesty’s Government’s Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board. He is Vice-Chair of the board of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund in Tokyo, Chair of the Global Burden of Disease Independent Advisory Committee, and Chair of the King Baudouin Foundation US. Peter has made seminal contributions to HIV research, spearheading UN reform by bringing together 10 UN system organizations. Under his leadership UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS. With a PhD in microbiology alongside a Medical Degree, Peter has published nearly 600 scientific articles and over a dozen books.

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About This Talk

This Talk Recorded at TEDMED 2020 on March 3, 2020

At TEDMED 2020 (March 3), Virologist and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Director Peter Piot sat down for a Q & A with TEDMED's Jay Walker to talk about the “novel” coronavirus. As Peter emphasizes in the conversation, “This is not a drill, it is the real thing." Hear this world-renowned expert explain how easily this virus spreads, the realistic effectiveness of face masks, and the importance of slowing the spread of the disease. Peter also shares his thoughts on the potential timeframe for drug treatment options and a future vaccine.

In the context of the next pandemic and our future, Peter explained that, “We have to be realistic; this is a never-ending battle of humankind against viruses, don’t forget it’s a virus planet. But we are better prepared for the next epidemic when it strikes—that’s really important for us—and for that we need to be absolutely committed to build a global fire brigade I would say, long before the house catches on fire next time.”