Sat, May 17, 2003 - Page 3 News List

US Congressman wants Taiwanese-American at WHO

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

A leading supporter of Taiwan in the US House of Representatives has proposed that a prominent Taiwanese-American scientist be selected to join the US delegation to a special technical briefing on SARS planned by the World Health Organization (WHO) next week.

Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, co-chairman of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus and Congress' leading promoter of Taiwan's role in the WHO, sent a letter Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, urging him to allow the scientist, Dr. Michael Lai (賴明詔), to attend the meeting.

Lai, a world-renowned biologist, is professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of South California. He is one of the pioneer scientists in the US in the field of coronaviruses, which researchers have determined are the cause of SARS.

Brown requested that Lai be included in the US delegation to the World Health Assembly so he can attend the briefing.

"Dr. Lai is familiar with Taiwan's SARS situation and has the ability to share detailed knowledge of the medical advances Taiwan has made so far," Brown said in the letter.

"Dr. Lai is a renowned authority and a pioneer in the study of coronavirus, which is associated with SARS.

"He has characterized steps to coronavirus replication during the past 25 years and discovered the phenomenon of RNA recombination, which is linked to coronavirus evolution," Brown said.

"He authored a chapter on the coronavirus in the Fields Virology textbook. His views on SARS have been widely quoted in numerous major publications and news media since the advent of the epidemic," he said.

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