HKUMed News (Vol 27 | Issue 1)

We see patients on the wards, prescribe drugs and advise doctors at the bedside. This working mode suits me quite well because I prefer seeing patients face-to-face,’ he said. Over the years, he has developed expertise in influenza and emerging viruses, including such work as decoding the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus strains in infectious patients. He has also developed a keen awareness of the Faculty’s fault lines, which he is anxious to fix. ‘Our earlier research prepared us for situations like COVID-19 and we have been able to produce a great deal of new research on the virus. But it has also identified shortfalls in terms of being able to give greater support to the community,’ he said. Foremost is the need to be able to quickly translate research findings into applications. Hong Kong currently lacks mechanisms for mass production and advanced clinical testing, which is hampering the development of new drugs and vaccines. Instead, scientists must rely on collaborators in mainland China and overseas. ‘If we want to expedite our response to future pandemics, we need to build a more robust infrastructure to facilitate this process. We have a good reason to do so because wherever a new drug or vaccine has been developed, it almost always tends to be reserved for fellow citizens of the developer’s country instead of being widely available to others in the first instance,’ he said. ‘We now know where the bottlenecks are, which will make it easier for us to tackle them.’ The pandemic has brought an unexpected bonus, though, by inspiring innovation in teaching. Before COVID-19, students learned how to do nasopharyngeal swabs by practising on each other. Now, with the help of Dr To’s former classmate, Dr Christian Fang Xinshuo of the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, a 3D-printed head and nose model has been created that can be dissembled to show students the nasal cavity and where the swab should reach. The models can also be shared with other specialties such as otorhinolaryngology for teaching. ‘This is a windfall opportunity that we never would have thought of before the pandemic,’ said Dr To, who finds teaching as rewarding as research and clinical work. One of his favourite role models is Professor Richard Yu Yue-hong (MBBS 1958), who as a private doctor spent one evening every week training students and staff in public hospitals, where Dr To was trained. ‘He was very patient and encouraged me a lot. His example inspired me to think that it is not enough to be a practising doctor. We must also teach and pass our knowledge to the next generation,’ he said. Dr To added, ‘I am happy to take on whatever duty that can benefit the Department and the University. I don’t see it as a burden.’ ↑Dr Kelvin To demonstrates sample collection for analysis at his laboratory 杜啟泓醫生展示有待實 驗室分析的樣本 →Members of the Department discovered rat hepatitis E is a human pathogen in 2018. 微生物學系於2018年 發現大鼠戊型肝炎病毒 (C物種)可引起人類 肝炎。 ←The 3D-printed head and nose model, created with the help of Dr Christian Fang Xinshuo of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, enables students to have a better understand of how to collect a nasopharyngeal swab specimen. 杜醫生展示由矯形及創 傷外科學系方欣碩醫生 協助製作的立體打印頭 鼻模型。該模型拆開 後,可更清晰地向學 生展示以鼻腔拭子採樣 的正確位置。 17 HKUMed News Summer 2022