World-leading virologist Peter Piot to advise President von der Leyen on the response to the coronavirus and COVID-19

The Commission has appointed Belgian virologist Peter Piot to the post of special advisor to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the response to the coronavirus and COVID-19. In this role, he will advise the Commission in supporting and steering research and innovation in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. President von der Leyen said: “We are committed to winning the fight against the coronavirus, and we need to base our efforts on the best advice of our top experts. Professor Piot’s invaluable experience will help guide our actions to accelerate the development and deployment of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to tackle the coronavirus, and to develop a strategy to prepare us for any future epidemics.” Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Handa Professor of Global Health, co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976 and also led pioneering research on HIV-AIDS, women’s health and infectious diseases, mostly in Africa. He later directed the United Nations AIDS programme for 10 years. The former Under Secretary-General of the UN is also member of the scientific advisory panel that provides the Commission with recommendations on response to the pandemic, including policy measures for addressing its long-term consequences. President von der Leyen and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, will meet with the panel today via videoconference. Professor Piot’s biography is available here, and his message for the Coronavirus Global Response initiative on 4 May here.