Female Chinese scientist wins UNESCO award for ‘groundbreaking’ work on avian flu

CCTV News

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In Paris, some of the world’s brightest scientific minds were lauded for their ground-breaking research. Five women from around the world were singled-out for the L’Oreal UNESCO Women in Science Awards.

Among them, China’s Hualan Chen, for her life-saving work on the avian flu virus. CCTV’s Richard Bestic reports.

Female Chinese scientist wins UNESCO award for \'groundbreaking\' work on avian flu

Female Chinese scientist wins UNESCO award for \'groundbreaking\' work on avian flu

In Paris, some of the world's brightest scientific minds were lauded for their ground-breaking research. Five women from around the world were singled-out for the L'Oreal UNESCO Women in Science Awards. Among them, China's Hualan Chen, for her life-saving work on the avian flu virus. CCTV's Richard Bestic reports.

The work of Hualen Chen in the field of bird flu virus makes her an extraordinary lifesaver and this year a laureate of the world science community.

“By getting this award that means my contribution to science has been recognized in a higher level. So, that’s why I think this is important to me, it means a lot,” she said.

Hualan Chen is based in northeastern China’s Harbin City, famous around the world for its magical ice palaces.

It was at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences that she undertook her quite literally groundbreaking work, testing over a thousand samples of soil and water from areas infected by the deadly bird flu virus H7N9.

Critical research that culminated in her developing two innovative new flu vaccines, 114 billion doses of which saved lives across China and South East Asia.

“My goal is to use my knowledge and my expertise to try to protect animals and humans from this deadly virus and it will be very, very lucky if we can eliminate this virus in the near or far future,” she said.

Hualan Chen was judged by a jury of her scientific peers, who found her work to be world class.

“In China she’s done absolutely groundbreaking work in something that’s so important: understanding the avian influenzas and what it can do, but very importantly what that impact can be on humans,” Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, the president of the L’Oreal UNESCO jury, said.

For nearly two decades, women from around the world have been hailed in Paris for their contribution to life-saving science and in the process, according to the organizers of the awards, thousands of young girls have followed in the footsteps of their heroines choosing a lifetime in science.