George Gao

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Person.png George Gao  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
George Gao.jpg
Alma materBeijing Agricultural University, Oxford University, Harvard, Calgary University
Member ofGlobal Preparedness Monitoring Board
Interests • viruses
• COVID-19
Chinese virologist and immunologist who participated in the notorious Event 201 and the 2021 Monkeypox Tabletop Exercise

Dr George Fu Gao is a Chinese virologist and immunologist. He participated in the 2019 Event 201 pandemic exercise. His career is significantly linked with the United Kingdom.


After graduating in 1983, he entered the graduate school of Beijing Agricultural University, where he earned a master's degree in microbiology and veterinary epidemiology in 1986. This enabled him to change his career direction to infectious disease research, and he joined the faculty of the university as a teaching assistant and later lecturer in virology.

Education and career abroad

In 1991, Gao went to the United Kingdom to study at Oxford University, where he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1994 under the supervision of David H. L. Bishop and Ernest A. Gould. After a three-month stint at the University of Calgary in Canada, he returned to Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher.

In 1999, Gao moved to Harvard Medical School as a Wellcome Trust International Travelling Fellow and conducted research under Don Craig Wiley and Stephen C. Harrison until 2001. From 2001 to 2004, Gao taught at Oxford University, as a lecturer, doctoral supervisor, and group leader.

Career in China

After 13 years abroad, Gao returned to China in 2004 to serve as Professor and Director of the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In 2008 he was appointed Vice President of Beijing Institutes of Life Science and Director of the National Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microorganism and Immunology of the CAS. He has also been an adjunct professor at Oxford since 2010.

Gao was appointed Deputy Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in April 2011. He was promoted to Director in August 2017, succeeding Wang Yu.

In 2015, Gao was appointed Dean of the Savaid Medical School of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

During the peak of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, he spent two months leading the China Mobile Test Laboratory in Sierra Leone from September to November.

In 2020, Gao contributed to research on SARS-CoV-2.


About the COVID-19 pandemic: “The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks.”[1]

His research interests include enveloped viruses and molecular immunology. His group research is mainly focused on the enveloped virus entry and release, especially influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump), structure-based drug-design, and structural immunology. He is also interested in virus ecology, especially the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology. This makes him the probable main source for the frequently mentioned -but unproven - theory of live poultry markets being the original source of Covid-19.


Events Participated in

2021 Monkeypox Tabletop ExerciseA 2021 biological exercise predicting a monkeypox pandemic starting in mid May 2022
Event 20118 October 201918 October 2019New York
A Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security/World Economic Forum/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored large scale simulation of a global coronavirus pandemic predicting an apocalyptic outcome. Held October 2019.