Newsletter No. 221

A United Front Against SARS An Open Letter from the VC Dear Colleagues, Many of you have beendoing your utmost to combat the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong. Those of you at the Prince of Wales Hospital havepushed yourselves to your limits, working round the clock to take careof SARS patients, to decipher the virus, and to develop testsand cures for the killer disease. Those ofyou working with the CUHK Campus (SARS) TaskForce have toiled day and night to prevent its spread on our campus, to react to emergencies, and to tell us how to protect ourselves and other people. Some others have offered expert advice to government agencies, schools, industry and businesses, rendering assistanceofall sorts in managing crises, solving problems, allaying fears, and redressing misconceptions. Yet others have mobilized colleagues and alumni of the University to stage public health campaigns and to organize counselling and support servicesfor the needy and the underprivileged. You are in action on many fronts. I am proud ofyou all Thisis certainly the time for us, as academics, to put to good useour knowledge and expertise.This is certainly the time The Chinese University, as a public institution, to make specialc o n t r i b u t i o n s to a Hong Kong in dire straits. Inthe face of SARS, all other issues are dwarfed, all other problems become irrelevant. Unchecked, the epidemic will wreak havoc in our city. Much indeed has already been tackled, but much more awaits to hedone. Fighting SARS is a protracted war. In c o n t r i b u t i n g your share,dear colleagues, may I ask you to report to us what you are doing. Theremay beothers in the University eager to join forces with you. Furnish uswith detailsofyour project Wemay beabletoget you additional support Keep us updated on your progress. Somedonors may be interestedin the next phase ofyour work. Tell us who you want to thank. The University will make available suitable channels to express our appreciation of all who have helped. What we want is to facilitatethe free flow of information about all relevant projects, so that efforts can be better coordinated, resourcescan be better deployed useful experience can be shared, new initiatives can beinspired, and goodwork becomeswidely recognized. What we want is to achieve a united frontagainst SARS. To this end, we have created an email account (pubsars for you to sendin all the materials you wish to share with us. A SARS Information Coordinating Committee chaired by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof.Kenneth Young has alsobeen set up to oversee the posting ofrelevant information onto the University's SARS webiste for all to browse. Let it also be emphasized that this is not really about publicity; tinsis about helping one another discharge our collective responsibility. Posterity will reproach us for not making a concerted effort at this timeof crisis. Hong Kong peoplewill not forgive us should wefail in our duty as a university. Dear colleagues, SARS is still raging. It's a protracted war. Act now. Ambrose Y.C . King Vice-Chancellor 30th April 2003 SARS Fighters Named Asian Heroes A team of doctors and nurses caring for SAR S patient s at the Prince of Wales Hospital mad e i t t o Time Magazine's Asia n Heroe s lis t las t month. Heade d by Prof . Josep h Sun g of the CUHK Departmen t o f Medicin e an d Therapeutics , the 'Dirt y Team' , as the band calls itself, has formed the frontline in the war against the killer disease. Together with an assortment of other heroes, they were described in this special issue of Time Magazine, Asi a edition, as 'Asians famous and unknown who remin d us what th e huma n spirit ca n achieve even i n the dires t of situations . In these treacherou s times o f wa r an d plague, w e loo k to their bravery as an exampl e an d an inspiration. B y r e f u s i n g t o s u c c u m b t o apathy or despair, they giv e u s th e w i l l t o f o r ge ahead whe n w e might otherwis e lose heart.' Some member s o f the Dirt y Team : (fro m left ) Ms . Hid y Cha n o f th e Intensive Car e Uni t at PWH , Mr . Chui See-to, surgica l ward manage r of PWH, Dr. Tam Lai-shan, adjunct tutor of the Department of Medicin e and Therapeutics, Prof . Josep h Sung , team leader , an d Prof . Gavi n Joynt o f the Departmen t o f Anaesthesia an d Intensiv e Care . Global Forum Pools Minds t oCombat SARS W ithin the spa n of a few weeks , SAR S ha s become a global healt h proble m with ove r 4,000 people i n over 25 countries being infected . On 25th April, medical professionals from all over the world, including the fou r regions most severely afflicted by SARS — mainlan d China, Hong Kong, Singapore , and Canada, shared their latest knowledge i n the understanding of SARS. Sponsore d by GlaxoSmithKline, the symposium was organized jointly by The Chinese University and the Hong Kong Medica l Association. I t too k place a t the Kowloo n Shangri-L a Hotel and was attended by ove r 60 0 medical and health workers . The topics addressed included the cause, manifestation, prevention, and cure o f SARS. Ther e was also a forum addressin g the hottest SARS issue s in-depth . 1 No. 221 4th May 2003