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Jan 26 2015

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Peter Piot on Desert Island Discs

piot

BBC Radio 4 – Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Peter Piot

As a microbiologist he is known for his research into viruses and into the public health aspects of sexually transmitted diseases, and, more recently, on the politics of AIDS and global health. Born in Leuven in Belgium, he studied medicine and in 1976, as a young researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, he was sent a blood sample of a Belgian nun living in what was then Zaire who had fallen ill with a mysterious disease. On investigation, Piot and his colleagues realised it was a virus they’d not seen before which they went on to identify as Ebola. He then travelled to Zaire to help quell the outbreak.

Later, back in Antwerp, he developed an interest in sexually transmitted diseases and joined the World Health Organisation’s Global Programme on HIV/AIDS in 1992. Appointed as Executive Director of the newly created Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in late 1994 his major successes were putting AIDS on the political agenda and achieving a reduction in the price of antiretroviral drugs.

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