Hong Kong was hit hard by viral influenza and respiratory pathogens previously. It was estimated that 80 billion yuan were lost for China and Hong Kong because of SARS. The city needs to equip itself for a potential respiratory viral crisis in the future. The Department of Health, healthcare professionals and the academia in Hong Kong are of world-class standard and are capable of crisis management in their respective fields. What Hong Kong lacks is a biotechnology sector that will help translate academic discoveries into further research and development, chemistry manufacturing and pharmacology activities etc. for the benefit of the community.
Recognizing the urgency of combating emerging infectious diseases, the Foundation is one of the core donors supporting the establishment of the Respiratory Virus Research Foundation (“RVR”). RVR will provide support to collaborative researches between The University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the research teams will also seek to actively work with the industry. This initiative will be fundamental to the development of novel drugs and vaccines against influenza and respiratory viruses.
In the long run, we believe this initiative will help shape the landscape conducive to the creation of a biotechnology industry in Hong Kong. We are equipping ourselves today for potential challenges tomorrow, for ourselves and also the rest of the world.