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Jan Holmgren receives global health award

Jan Holmgren Foto Malin Arnesson

Professor Jan Holmgren at the University of Gothenburg is one of this year’s recipients of Prince Mahidol’s Award in Public Health.

Prince Mahidol’s Award in Public Health is being awarded to Jan Holmgren and John Clemens for their ground-breaking research on “the development, evaluation and introduction of effective vaccines for combating cholera.” Holmgren is receiving the award for leading the development of the world’s first effective drinkable cholera vaccine and also for transferring the technology, so the vaccine can be produced on location in developing countries. Along with John Clemens, he has also shown that the cholera vaccine has the potential to eradicate cholera in developing countries.

“Several of the previous winners have subsequently been awarded the Nobel Prize for their discoveries, including for the discovery of the Helicobacter pylori gastric ulcer bacteria, the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer, and the rotavirus, the most common cause of diarrhea among infants. So the award is given for really extraordinary achievements in global health,” says Holmgren.

Drinkable cholera vaccine

Jan Holmgren is described as a leader in vaccine research and global health who has identified the fundamental mechanisms of disease and immunity in the case of cholera. He led the research team that developed the world’s first effective drinkable cholera vaccine and paved the way for the global availability of the vaccine by transferring technology for local vaccine production to countries where cholera causes more than three million cases of illness and 100,000 deaths each year.

Royal awards presentation

The award, which is being presented Bangkok in the presence of royalty, has been awarded to a long series of very prominent researchers since 1992. Prince Mahidol, who was the grandfather of the current King of Thailand, made great contributions to modernizing Thailand’s health and medical care.

This year’s Mahidol award winners Jan Holmgren and John Clemens, along with the two leading cancer researchers who were awarded the other Mahidol award in medicine, will receive their awards in the form of a diploma, a gold medal and $50,000 each from Princess Maha Chakri Sirindihorn, President of Prince Mahidol’s Foundation, at a large awards ceremony in Bangkok on January 31, 2019.

Source: University of Gothenburg

Photo of Jan Holmgren: Malin Arnesson