One of the wonders of the Chesapeake Bay region, be it Annapolis, Chestertown or Talbot County, is that it’s not unusual to find a leading expert in almost any field just around the block, so to speak. With close proximity to Washington, D.C. these communities have found themselves attracting the best and the brightest for decades.
So it wasn’t too surprising to find one of the country’s leading experts in infectious diseases who so happens to make his home just outside of Chestertown.
For more than thirty years, Dr. Mark Dybul has been in the forefront of some of the world’s most dangerous pandemics. Starting with his early work with AIDS in the 1980s, when he became a colleague and friend with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dybul has helped lead global efforts to defeat such dangerous diseases, as SARE, Ebola, MERS, and H1N1, just to name a few.
He’s the former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is now Faculty Co-Director of the Center of Global Health Quality and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Georgetown Medical Center.
Earlier in his career, he joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci on clinical studies on HIV virology, immunology, and treatment, which led the first controlled trials using antiviral therapies in Africa and effort that helped save 17 million lives. Dr. Fauci continues to be his mentor and colleague, and the two discuss weekly the implementation of a plan to control the virus worldwide.
“A global pandemic requires a global response; solidarity,” Dybul says. “When AIDS hit, no one knew what to do, but we became aware that we are a more connected world.”
Dybul has been interviewed widely and always expresses his mission to help create a global template to deal not only with COVID-19 but pandemics to come
In a recent interview in One— a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease—he was asked about the US response to the global pandemic. “If the virus is lurking anywhere in the world, we are at risk. If we are not engaged and don’t know the patterns of transmission, we are in deep trouble; we are flying blind into a future we have no sense of. Flying blind is incredibly dangerous.”
But Dybul is not without optimism, despite the uncoordinated US effort to contain the virus. He says it’s not “rocket science.” If we look to European countries, we can see that it controlling the transmission of the virus can be accomplished within months if we follow the recommended protocols of wearing masks, social distancing, contact tracing, and quarantining. But it takes a unified effort, and the fortitude to carry through.
This video is approximately fourteen minutes in length. For more information about the Center of Global Health Quality please go here.
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