| Zhao Zhendong|
(scientist, COVID-19/Premature death)
|Died||September 17, 2020 (Age 53)|
Cause of death
|Interests|| • Sinovac|
Led a technical support team for the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Zhao Zhendong was a prominent Chinese immunologist who died of a heart attack in September 2020. Before his death, Zhao had worked for more than half a year under a tight schedule and heavy workload with other researchers to accelerate the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Zhao earned a doctorate in medicine in 1998 and did postdoctoral study between 1998 and 2002 at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the United States. He got a job at Peking University in 2003 and then began working for the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) in 2008.
He "had been working on the front line since the outbreak of the epidemic, … provided suggestions and technical support for the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines－including participating in drafting a general standard for biosecurity for vaccine production－and made great contributions to COVID-19 vaccine research and development," an obituary noted. 
Before his death, Zhao had worked for more than half a year under a tight schedule and heavy workload with other researchers to accelerate the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, according to his colleagues at the academy.
Wang Chen, president of the CAMS, said in addition to his dedication to seeking truth, Zhao was also a man that always spoke the truth, even at the risk of offending others. "He was a frank scholar, almost to the degree of bluntness," he said. "He would tell his real thoughts and stood for truth even when faced with objection. It is a precious trait for scholars, which is why he deserves respect."