Carlo Urbani – The hero of SARS

                Fifteen years ago, on 28 February 2003, an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is one of the first pandemics of the 21st century, has boomed starting from Vietnam. At this time, Dr. Carlo Urbani, who was an Italian doctor and a public health specialist working at the WHO office in Viet Nam, devoted himself to find out a cure for this pandemic. Sadly, Dr Carlo Urbani was infected and  passed away because of SARS on 29 March, 2003. On 9 May 2003, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health awarded him Medal of Friendship, and Medal for People’s Health. The hero sacrificed his life to save millions of lives. His work, determination, and self-sacrifice, in the name of medical research, will be forever remembered and appreciated.

Photo: A portrait of late WHO’s Italian physician Carlo Urbani being placed at the entrance to a memorial service.

                To commemorate the work of Dr. Carlo Urbani in the discovery and treatment of SARS, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Hanoi, has developed the iniziative of building a Research center for acute respiratory infections named Carlo Urbani at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

                This humanitarian project has been being implemented over the past 10 years (2007 – 2017) with a budget of over 3.5 million Euros for three phases. The Carlo Urbani project is highly appreciated by the Government of Vietnam for contributing to develope the country’s health sector.

                Today is the 15th anniversary of the great doctor’s death, we are once again thankful for his sacrification and contribution. Carlo Urbani is not only remembered in the scientific world but also in the hearts of millions of people who are greatful to him.