Guan Yi

Guan Yi
Born1962 (age 59–60)
Ningdu County, Jiangxi, China
NationalityHong Kong
Alma materMedical College of Nanchang University
Peking Union Medical College
University of Hong Kong
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Hong Kong
Doctoral advisorKennedy Francis Shortridge
Other academic advisorsRobert Webster
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Guan Yi (simplified Chinese: 管轶; traditional Chinese: 管軼; born 1962) is a Chinese virologist. In 2014, he was ranked as 11th in the world by Thomson Reuters (now known as Clarivate Analytics)[1] among global researchers in the field of microbiology. He obtained his PhD in microbiology at the University of Hong Kong and is now a professor of microbiology at his alma mater. His research on the viral respiratory disease SARS helped the Chinese government avert the 2004 outbreak of this disease.[2] He is the current director (China affairs)[3] of the State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases University of Hong Kong.[4] In early 2017, Guan warned that the H7N9 influenza virus "poses the greatest threat to humanity than any other in the past 100 years."[5]


Guan received his MD degree from the Medical College of Nanchang University (also known as Jiangxi Medical College), his advanced medical degree from Peking Union Medical College, and his PhD from the University of Hong Kong.[2]


Focusing his research on influenza viruses throughout his career, Guan has identified all the major precursors and transmission pathways of the H5N1 variant that circulates in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa and has provided most of the World Health Organization recommended pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccines strains.

Guan has, also, initiated the systematic study of H9N2 viruses, which, along with H5 viruses that are now regarded as the most likely novel influenza subtypes to cause a pandemic.

Guan has defined the role of domestic ducks in harboring and spreading influenza viruses and made major contributions in recognizing the emergence, evolutionary history and development of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus and revealed the genesis, infection source, evolutionary pathway and possible transmission route of the 2017 emerging H7N9 influenza virus.[2][5][6]

Guan has also contributed to the identification of animal reservoirs for coronaviruses, leading a team to identify bats as a reservoir host for SARS-CoV [7] and palm civets as an intermediate host for SARS-CoV.[8][9]

COVID-19 pandemic

Guan Yi has given expert comments on SARS-CoV-2 when interviewed by Caixin, warning that the coronavirus could be 10 times worse than the 2003 Sars outbreak.[10] He said to media, ""I have been through so many [disease outbreaks], and I have never been scared. Most [of the outbreaks] are manageable, but this time I am scared."[11] What he said in his interview with Caixin were apparently different from that in most Chinese media, and it became highly controversial as journalists of state media reposted his previous statement, which he made on 15 January, claiming that the disease was manageable. The journalists also reposted the information that Guan's lab was once fined by the government in 2005. Wang Duan, the Caixin journalist who interviewed Guan Yi, described such behavior as "personal attacks" and complained that no expert had so far come forward to refute what Guan said.[12]

In mid July when a cluster of resurgent cases in Beijing was reported, Guan was interviewed by iNewsweek journal (中国新闻周刊) which shared his supportive opinion to the speculation that the virus imported into Beijing via contaminated frozen salmon fishes.[13]

In what Bloomberg News' called "a rare show of public criticism", Guan Yi criticised the Chinese government's zero COVID measures, telling Phoenix Hong Kong Channel that if the government persists with the policy for a handful of cases, then the economy will suffer. Guan has advocated for increased vaccination and research into the efficacy of homegrown vaccines against new variants.[14][15]

Appearances in popular media

In 2005, Time featured Guan as one of its 18 "Global Health Heroes", and in 2006, named him an "Asian Hero" for his influenza virus research work.[16][17] In 2021 he was awarded the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.[18]

Academic publications

Guan's publication record contained in the United States National Institutes of Health PubMed database shows his having over 280 peer-reviewed articles with over 26,000 citations and an h-index of 79.[2][19]


  1. ^ "Highly Citied Researchers". Clarivate Analytics. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Guan, Yi". University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Members". State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases. University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  4. ^ "State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases". University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Why Chinese Scientists Are More Worried Than Ever About Bird Flu". NPR. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  6. ^ Johnson, Lorie (11 April 2017). "Scary Bird Flu Mutations Could Lead to Worst Pandemic in History". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  7. ^ Tang, X. C.; Zhang, J. X.; Zhang, S. Y.; Wang, P.; Fan, X. H.; Li, L. F.; Li, G.; Dong, B. Q.; Liu, W.; Cheung, C. L.; Xu, K. M. (1 August 2006). "Prevalence and Genetic Diversity of Coronaviruses in Bats from China". Journal of Virology. 80 (15): 7481–7490. doi:10.1128/JVI.00697-06. ISSN 0022-538X. PMC 1563713. PMID 16840328.
  8. ^ Guan, Y.; Zheng, B. J.; He, Y. Q.; Liu, X. L.; Zhuang, Z. X.; Cheung, C. L.; Luo, S. W.; Li, P. H.; Zhang, L. J.; Guan, Y. J.; Butt, K. M. (10 October 2003). "Isolation and Characterization of Viruses Related to the SARS Coronavirus from Animals in Southern China". Science. 302 (5643): 276–278. Bibcode:2003Sci...302..276G. doi:10.1126/science.1087139. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12958366.
  9. ^ Kan, Biao; Wang, Ming; Jing, Huaiqi; Xu, Huifang; Jiang, Xiugao; Yan, Meiying; Liang, Weili; Zheng, Han; Wan, Kanglin; Liu, Qiyong; Cui, Buyun (15 September 2005). "Molecular Evolution Analysis and Geographic Investigation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-Like Virus in Palm Civets at an Animal Market and on Farms". Journal of Virology. 79 (18): 11892–11900. doi:10.1128/JVI.79.18.11892-11900.2005. ISSN 0022-538X. PMC 1212604. PMID 16140765.
  10. ^ Liu, Zhen (23 January 2020), China coronavirus outbreak could be 10 times worse than Sars, expert says, South China Morning Post
  11. ^ "香港病毒专家估算武汉疫情比SARS感染规模大10倍". Radio Free Asia (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  12. ^ 梓鹏 (29 January 2020). "武汉疫情与中港"一国两制"下的医护镜像". BBC News 中文 (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  13. ^ "北京爆第二波疫情 管軼:料經冷凍食物傳播". Fight Covid-19 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). 16 June 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Focus - A closer look at China's strict 'zero-Covid' policy". 5 January 2022.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Walsh, Bryan (31 October 2005). "Bird-Flu Hunter GUAN YI". Time Magazine. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  17. ^ Greenfeld, Karl (13 November 2006). "Guan Yi & Malik Peiris". Time Magazine. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  18. ^ Canada Gairdner Global Health Award 2021
  19. ^ "Guan, Yi". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 12 April 2017.

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