Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday signed a presidential order to award epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor, for his outstanding contributions in China’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
This is the second time that China award the Medal of the Republic, following the first in 2019 when China awarded the medals to pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou, Yuan Longping, a Chinese agronomist and educator, and Shen Liangliang, a soldier of the Chinese peacekeeping force in Mali.
Along with Zhong, China’s top medical adviser Zhang Boli, top Chinese vaccine researcher Chen Wei and Zhang Dingyu, dean of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, were awarded national honorary titles.
The award shows China’s national spirit of devotion, and insisting on giving recognition to science, and the unity that China possesses in the face of difficulties, observers said.
Since the early stage of the epidemic, Zhong, 84, chose not to drop out but went to the Wuhan frontline.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Zhong dared to speak up, pointed out the phenomenon of “person-to-person transmission,” and placed great emphasis on strict prevention and control measures, the working committee for the granting of honors said in a statement on soliciting public opinion on August 3.
Zhang Boli, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and one of the top consultants in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in Central China’s Hubei Province, recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in treating the novel coronavirus, achieving remarkable results and contributions to the prevention and control of the epidemic.
Infectious disease expert Chen Wei from the Institute of Biotechnology under the Academy of Military Medical Sciences was awarded the national honorary title, as she contributed to basic research and vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccine developed by Chen Wei’s team became the first in the world to disclose complete phase one clinical trial results, and declare a dual immune response in the recipients.
Zhang Dingyu, who is a deputy head of the Hubei Provincial Health Commission and dean of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, helped gain time by confirming the unknown pneumonia as the novel Coronavirus.