Covid-19 is a medical problem

Plea for more objectivity, for cooperation and less ideology

Interview by Nicole Köster, SWR 1 Leute, with Prof. Dr med. Dr h.c. Paul R. Vogt

Nicole Köster: Professor Paul Vogt, good morning.
Paul Vogt: Good morning.

Welcome to “SWR 1 Leute”. You are a heart surgeon from Zurich, so you travelled across the border last night [4 May 2020]. A brief question: What about the border controls?
No problem, ten minutes’ traffic jam, but as you had sent me a confirmation, there was no problem.

So everything went smoothly. But of course many people have concerns for when the borders will be open again, especially the citizens who live there. The politicians, on the other hand, are calling for a faster opening of the borders. Did you notice any feelings in that respect?
I think that a lifting of the lockdown is inevitable – the economy aside, nobody wants to go on like that. It is actually pretty clear that people want to visit their acquaintances, their relatives, their family members. The question is how to do that and what data we have. Can we use scientific data to predict what will happen? And actually I do not think so. We do not know exactly what will happen in the next six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four weeks. We need a gradual lifting of the lockdown, and then we just have to monitor what happens.

This not knowing is a big problem. You have tried to bring some order into this jungle and you are also “a concerned citizen”. In fact, under this title, under this heading, you published a guest commentary in a Swiss newspaper, the Mittelländische Zeitung. What happened after this article appeared?
That is a small publishing house, so that was published online; they have a maximum of maybe a few thousand clicks per day. And then they were clicked on, I think 750 thousand times in 48 hours. Then I sent two manuscripts and an interview on the first manuscript, and this was clicked on 2.5 million times in Switzerland and about 2 million times in Russian-speaking countries. I was then asked for a Spanish translation, a French translation, a Bulgarian translation, etc. and even a Chinese translation. So we delivered this too, afterwards, via my colleagues.

And in your article you expressed some criticism. What is your main criticism?
I think that if we had paid more attention and had learned something from what happened in Asia, in China, in Taiwan, in South Korea, and if we had been a bit more prepared, the pandemic would probably not have afflicted Switzerland to such an extent, probably a lockdown would not have been necessary, there would have been fewer human victims, and I think there would also have been fewer economic and financial difficulties, which are only now gradually becoming apparent.

But, as you have just said yourself, it is precisely this lack of knowledge that is such a major problem. When did you first hear about the outbreak of a dangerous new type of Sars virus?
From September onwards, I was actually continuously working in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan. We are setting up a children’s heart surgery there.

You have established a foundation.
Yes, I have. My Uzbek and Russian colleagues, who do not speak much English – I set up a library for them for heart surgery etc. – asked me in January if I could tell them something about what was going on in China. I went through the literature and looked for what was available and came across a publication by Peng Zhou from Wuhan, a virologist who presented an epidemiological study of corona viruses in bats in China in March 2019.
When I had read this paper, everything was pretty clear to me. This pandemic was predicted there, a new corona virus would soon sweep across the world; it was not possible to say exactly when, but very soon, and the hot spot was also not known exactly, but it would probably be in China. That was also explained in detail.

You say that the corona pandemic has been announced at least eight times since 2003. What about the previous announcements, were they not to be taken seriously?
I cannot say for sure, either. We have seen various pandemics “field-tested”. One is Sars1 and Mers2, the two epidemics, I would say. After 2004 there were no more Sars diseases in China, which means the virus had been eradicated, which is an important message. I know that the German Bundestag simulated a corona pandemic in Germany in 2012, and in 2016 there was Exercise Cygnus, which simulated an influenza pandemic in London. There the result was that the NHS [National Health Service] would collapse. And that report was then withheld from the population as “classified”. There are also pandemic leaflets, guidelines that Switzerland published in 2018 – it is difficult to explain why there has been no reaction. There is this “Event 201” by Bill Gates, in which a corona pandemic was discussed worldwide at the end of 2019. There are many film excerpts on the Internet – you can read them – treating up to the economic consequences of a pandemic. And then, of course, there is the scientific work of Peng Zhou, who predicts all of this.

And then you came to the conclusion: It is due to a kind of Western arrogance. How are we to understand that?
Well, I think that if you look at the commentary columns, for example, the media reports in Switzerland, too, but especially the commentary columns, they show me a bit of the atmosphere and the mood. There it says, one way or the other: “All Chinese lie”, and “you cannot believe anything the Taiwanese say”, “Singapore is a family dictatorship, you cannot believe anything there either”. That’s just a bad attitude. If, for example, China informed the WHO on 31 December 2019 – and the Chinese have installed a monitoring system for atypical pneumonia, which has been compared with that in Holland in 2017 and which works very well, this has been confirmed – and then the WHO gives, I would say, a worldwide pandemic alarm on 30 January 2020 and different countries take different precautions, you cannot close your eyes; I think you have to look at what happens and what these countries do.

But there is also the criticism that was voiced last weekend by the five secret services: That the beginning of the pandemic was also covered up in China.
No, I think the way I understand it, at first they thought it was Sars. First they had to find out that it was a new virus. It looks to me as if the Chinese are now doing research on the Corona virus in Wuhan, then a virus gets out, and then they say: “We won’t say anything”. But the fact is that this research on Corona viruses is a worldwide research. There are publications about it that anyone can read: in 2015, a research group in North Carolina, Jefferson, Arkansas, Harvard, together with Wuhan, together with a Swiss institute, in Bellinzona, produced a paper on how they synthetically manipulated Sars Corona viruses. Then the National Institute of Health in America imposed a moratorium claiming it was too dangerous to do research on Mers and Sars viruses. And this moratorium was lifted in 2017. This research is international. And also the research of Shi Zheng-Li, which is now of course the focus of attention in Wuhan, was supported by the Americans with millions of dollars all the way. There were foreign researchers in Wuhan; the laboratory was co-built by the French. This is not something local in Wuhan. The whole world of research was involved in the Corona research.

So that would now mean that the criticism that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently voicing is also directed at his own country’s research. It is this bashing that you are ultimately criticising, because it is not getting us anywhere. So what are the ideas behind the question: How can we arrive at solutions? There is certainly a great deal of experience in this area, especially in science.
At the moment, there are actually two opinions: It was a laboratory virus or it was not. The active virologist community in the world, they published a paper in the Lancet, “Support of China” and of their colleagues. They are virologists from nine countries, all working at the cutting edge, and they clearly said, “This is a natural virus, it comes from nature”. For me that is the virological-medical scientific message. The other is politics, and in principle you have to weigh up now: Do you now believe these Five Eyes [alliance of the secret services of the five countries USA, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand]? The first thing that comes to my mind is Iraq. Or do I believe the scientific community? And I believe the scientific community here, because I do not believe that all the active world-class virologists together are cheating the world.

How did the virus come into existence? There is much speculation about that question. We have just talked about the fact that there are 27 leading virologists from nine countries who say that there is no possibility that it was created synthe-tically. However, at the end of your article, you ask this question again: how did the virus come into existence in the first place? So what do we know, what do we not know?
If you ask the leading virologists and show them the genome of the Covid virus, with those Sars corona viruses that have been experimented on – worldwide, it must be said – then they agree that these two genomes are so different that the virus does not come out of the laboratory. It is well known from 20 years of research that there are apparently thousands of different corona viruses; new ones are discovered every day, and that they can be transmitted to humans. There is a part of the population, people who live near such clusters of bats with corona viruses on them, and they have antibodies against corona viruses. And it is the diversity of genomes that tells virologists that this is a natural event, as they do happen. These viruses are all sitting on these bats – the rabies virus comes from there, the Ebola virus comes from there, and various other viruses all sit on the bats. And I actually trust what the leading virologists say: If they all agree that this is natural, then I think that is so.

«If I ask my colleagues or if I myself look back over 30 or 40 years: We have never seen such a great number of patients with such serious respiratory problems, where the disease attacks all the organs. In other words, this virus attacks the brain, the heart, the kidneys, the liver, the intestines and, of course, also the lungs. Never before in such numbers. We have never seen so many nurses and also the doctors fall ill in the same way as the patients they care for – despite protective measures – and then die.»

Then you dealt chronologically with many points, which are also being claimed at the moment. Let us take the first point, where it says: “This is very similar to a kind of flu.”
In my opinion, this became apparent very early on and then, as time went by, it became increasingly clear, that it was not. Of course, for the 80 to 85 per cent who have a cold for perhaps two or three days, it is a normal flu. But for the patients who are hospitalised and go to the intensive care units, the situation is completely different. If I ask my colleagues or if I myself look back over 30 or 40 years: We have never seen such a great number of patients with such serious respiratory problems, where the disease attacks all the organs. In other words, this virus attacks the brain, the heart, the kidneys, the liver, the intestines and, of course, also the lungs. Never before in such numbers. We have never seen so many nurses and also the doctors fall ill in the same way as the patients they care for – despite protective measures – and then die. There is now a study from England where over 100 carers – nurses and doctors – have also died of Covid-19. I do not remember us at the front, the people at the front, in the intensive care units, ever experiencing such a situation. And my colleagues cannot remember anything like it either. That is the one thing. The second is that it is slowly becoming apparent that there are completely different pathomechanisms; in other words, the virus leaves traces on the lungs that look as if the body is rejecting its own lungs – with the corresponding long-term consequences. In other words, it stems from the disease itself; it is a disease that we have not yet seen regarding the pathomechanism.

A question that also arises time and again is: Should there be more autopsies?
Of course the Italians have performed autopsies; there are also autopsy studies from America. There are histological, immuno-histochemical studies, and the picture is slowly coming together. It really is a clinical picture that we have never known in this way, yes, one must almost say in this most insidious way.

What about the pre-existing conditions, which are so frequently mentioned?
These so-called secondary diagnoses: I mean, if there are a hundred people in a room, and I do a whole-body MR and the complete laboratory investigation and examination of these hundred people, then I can tell you that 80 per cent will go away with three diagnoses. That is a bit like the “insanity” in modern medicine; that is one thing. The second is: If you look at the frequency of high blood pressure, diabetes etc. in comparison to the normal population of Covid patients, there are no big differences. And: I think having a so-called diagnosis does not mean that you are ill at all. That is the big difference today. It is the merit of medicine that today, even if you have two or three secondary diagnoses and many more – and we operate on patients like this – you can reach an old age with a good quality of life without any problems with such secondary diagnoses. I do not see why things should suddenly be completely different when it comes to Covid-19. From my point of view, this is a complete exaggeration concerning such secondary diagnoses.

Different scenarios are conceivable if the virus cannot be eliminated. Let us sift through two of them. What scientists are assuming is that this virus will not disappear. So what is our best option? And what is the worst-case scenario?
The best would have been, of course, the ambition to destroy the virus. That is the Chinese strategy. They succeeded with Sars. The Western Europeans, including Switzerland, never really had that ambition.

Why did they not have that ambition?
I cannot really explain why not. I mean, that is actually what you should do according to the pandemic theory: You have to try to eliminate the virus. Now we’re in a situation where we do not know what is going to happen. Now we lift the lockdown; maybe the numbers go up; maybe there is another lockdown; the virus persists; maybe there are local outbreaks. We are now in a situation where we do not know what is going to happen. The best thing, of course, would be for the virus to weaken in the course of these multiple transmissions from person to person in such a way – and this can happen – that it is no longer dangerous. That would be the best; that is wishful thinking. We duck down and the virus kills itself.

The worst thing that could happen is probably that it could mutate.
The worst variant is if the virus is seasonal, like the flu, if it comes back mutated, in a similar pandemic wave; that would of course be the worst thing.

Let’s assume the worst case happens. What would have to be done to prepare for such a worst case scenario?
I hope that we will then know better how to protect ourselves against such a pandemic. I mean, masks must be ready, enough disinfectant must be ready. I think tracking systems and testing must also be available and possible.
We are a technically networked world, and of course it cannot be assumed that we could control such a pandemic in today’s world with the means of a thousand years ago. We must use the technologies of the 21st century to control such pandemics in our networked world.

Do you want a surveillance state like China?
No, of course not. There are various tracking systems, some of which are anonymous, which simply have to be shut down again later. I think a lot of people are on Facebook these days, or iCloud, do not you? In 2016, the Swiss adopted an intelligence law that goes very far. Nobody is much worried about it. Today’s youths are accused of having their data everywhere. And now, when it comes to saving several thousands of lives and fighting a pandemic, now suddenly data is so sacred. I mean, here I would expect society to show a little more unity; that is point number one.
And number two: if people agree to a tracking app and over 60% of the Swiss would do so – especially if no lockdown would then be required – then the state must be trusted to remove the tracking app afterwards or to keep it in reserve for another pandemic wave, as it were.

We had a data protection expert as a guest yesterday: It is also argued that the co-inventor of Bluetooth says: “Bluetooth is not really set up for this. You cannot really find evidence of people having been this close. Do you think the lead in Asia in fighting the pandemic is really due to a tracking app of this kind, or what has been their main advantage?
I do not think there is one single measure. There are several measures – that is for certain. If you take South Korea: Nine days after the first Covid positive case the South Koreans had already distributed 700,000 masks to the sensitive areas. Two weeks after the first Covid-positive case, they already had a test that showed results within six hours. And they had the tracking system, and they reacted quickly. It is typical for a pandemic that the number of cases increases exponentially at the beginning. That means if you miss the first few weeks, you’re in trouble. It takes a combination of the simple means known for a thousand years, plus the technology, plus the speed.

You say that neither politicians nor the media, nor the majority of citizens are capable of separating ideology, politics and medicine in such a situation. How do you make out the difference?
A lot of data on the beginning of the pandemic and also on how countries in Asia reacted can be found in scientific publications by purely Chinese authors, or by mixed Chinese and American authors. That is what you find in the US National Library of Medicine, and I think if you want to know something about the pandemic, you do not have to read daily newspapers, you have to read the scientific papers that have been published also by the Americans themselves in their best journals. The pandemic is a medical problem, and they cannot say that a scientific paper that is generally accepted is no good, just because it comes from China. I think they have mixed ideology and politics. China has this form of government, the Taiwanese a different one, which does not mean that medical data, interpretations and results coming from these countries are therefore not correct. I think it must be possible to discriminate, because we want to fight the pandemic, we do not want to take over another form of government. We want to fight a pandemic.

But that would imply that, in your opinion, science has made no mistakes?
Of course, science has needed time to find out what this thing actually is. All I can say is that, in an editorial on 6 January, Anthony Fauci, who also advises Trump, examined these Chinese scientific papers and said: Yes, they are not bad, you can see certain shortcomings, but these are due to the fact that they do not yet know exactly what they are actually reporting on. And that is exactly the heart of the matter. And even on 6 January, he said we do not yet know exactly what is coming. I mean, this is a well-known virologist who assessed the situation in the same way. And I still think that the fact that the Chinese identified the complete genome of this virus on 7 January and communicated it to the whole world shows that they took it seriously from a scientific point of view. That is what must count for us, I think.

«And there is an article which specifically mentions the excellent international cooperation at scientific level among the scientists of all these countries, and that this can be an example of how multilateral, international, bilateral cooperation should actually be in other areas too. That is what the pandemic could actually show us.»

After all, the information is coming in little by little, the research is ongoing. So since in science it was done in this way – what could then a policy, for example, copy from science; perhaps it is possible to learn from each other?
Yes, of course: there is a good article in Foreign Affairs. I mean, Foreign Affairs is an international journal brought out by the Council on Foreign Relations, and that is, I would say, traditionally rather anti-Chinese. It’s more like “America must lead again” and so on and so on. This journal also praised the Chinese scientific work on pandemic control, and even Anthony Fauci said there that he benefited greatly from working with his Chinese colleagues.
And there is an article which specifically mentions the excellent international cooperation at scientific level among the scientists of all these countries, and that this can be an example of how multilateral, international, bilateral cooperation should actually be in other areas too. That is what the pandemic could actually show us.

You are very well networked with China through your foundation; you yourself have been to Wuhan. You were in China for almost a whole year. You work together with Uzbekistan, you are often there, you are sometimes in Africa – what are you ultimately learning from this networking? How should one communicate?
Well, what I am learning is that things are more complicated. That you cannot read 10 lines on something in the media and then you think you know how the world works. The problems are always more fundamental when you look closer. What of this is true anyway? Is it really like that? That’s the one thing. The second is: You have to go to these countries, and you have to talk to these people. And apart from my medical work, I have somewhat made it my hobby to study these countries on a cultural, religious and political level, and you have to listen to the arguments from all sides and form your own opinion. They do not say for nothing that tra-velling educates. You have to talk to the people. I have also received many, many letters from business managers who work in China and in Europe, from European colleagues who run clinics in China, and all of them have told me that they cannot stand this China bashing either. I mean, this road is a dead-end, anyway.

We are asked many questions. Mr Rolf Schmid from Winterbach asks: Why is the virus spreading pandemically worldwide, but not throughout China, but only in Wuhan? What can you tell us about that?
It did not only spread in Hubei province and in Wuhan, but also to other Chinese provinces. But of course: the Chinese had the ambition to destroy the virus, so they imposed a curfew and actually closed the border. But they could not prevent it completely. For example, in the neighbouring province of Anhui, which also has over 60 million inhabitants, there were 995 po-sitives and 6 deaths. That means that the measures have taken effect. Now there has been a recent outbreak in Harbin again, and they say that is because of the people returning to China and bringing the virus back. When they get to China, they have to spend 28 days in quarantine. I have mentioned the Chinese strategy, but it is questionable whether it is really possible to eliminate Covid like Sars. There are the Italians who think that, firstly, we cannot eliminate it and, secondly, herd immunity will not be an issue either, because that will take too long. We must have a vaccination or antibodies.

And that may take time. Per WhatsApp Bärbel asks: How does a dictatorship work compared to us? Is it right that the people in Vietnam can protect themselves better?
Yes, this is exactly this confounding of politics and medicine again. Of course, the Asian states are more collectively organised than we are; we place much more value on individual freedom. But perhaps we should also be prepared, if there is a state of emergency, to restrict this temporarily.

Fundamental rights, but they have already been restricted.
Yes, I think so. There is individual freedom, and there are social obligations. In the event of a pandemic, we may have to rebalance these for a certain period of time. It is of course the case that centralised monitoring will make it easier to combat this pandemic. But I can simply tell you: It did not take a Covid for the NSA to intercept your Chancellor’s mobile phone, nor did it take a Covid to introduce facial recognition. Interestingly, these measures have made pandemic control easier, but I think you do not have to look to Asia in order to adopt a form of government – you have to look to Asia because you want to solve a medical problem.

«Whether herd immunity works is questionable for a disease, of which we do not know the acute damage, but neither the long-term consequences: And there are now more and more reports saying that younger people who have survived Covid-19 well have severe long-term damage to the lungs »

And there are other countries that deal with Covid differently. Frank Hoffmann from Weil im Schönbuch inquires: Do you know why it seems to work differently in Sweden and do you have information from other countries, for example Belarus?
I have no information from Belarus. They simply do not know the numbers there, and I cannot say anything about it. In Sweden, they have a population about 1.5 to 2 million larger than that of Austria, but they have four to five times more fatalities than Austria. That is the one thing. They also initiated measures: Larger groups were not allowed to meet. It is not that they did nothing. Whether herd immunity works is questionable for a disease, of which we do not know the acute damage, but neither the long-term consequences: And there are now more and more reports saying that younger people who have survived Covid-19 well have severe long-term damage to the lungs. To be sure, they do not have symptoms when at rest, but under physical stress they have difficulty breathing. It is not known how many young people will suffer from such severe long-term damage.

When we talk about a return to what we perceive as normal, there are still a great many uncertainties. Keyword: active infestation: You comment on it and say the whole thing is a “pipe dream”. Why?
Yes, that was the idea, that of actively, let’s say, infecting the so-called low risk group. In my opinion, this is nonsense. First of all, you do not know the acute dangers or the long-term damage; they are only now coming to light – slowly. After all, with an active infestation you are multiplying the mass of viruses. And the more viruses you have, the higher the probability of mutation and the greater the probability that the virus can adapt to humans and become even more aggressive. This means that you actually have to limit the mass of viruses. It was also typical that in the Spanish flu, the second wave was much more damaging, much deadlier, because the virus had adapted to humans. This means that you must reduce the amount of virus and not increase it by actively infecting people. We have no idea what that could mean. I mean, an infestation was actually the first medical recommendation on how to treat a pandemic in Switzerland, to the government and the media, and it came from an economist; and I think of course that is a joke, the first recommendation should come from the medical profession – and right at the beginning.

But it is of course all the more important now that there should be further understanding between medicine, politics and business. The voices are getting louder that the lockdown must be relaxed. So what can good communication look like?
Yes, of course, I have also written that the lifting of the lockdown is inevitable; nobody wants to live like that. There is something I am starting to realise: I have the impression that in Switzerland, medicine is seen as an impediment for the lifting of the lockdown; people are saying, yes, if we did not have it, the doctors so to speak, we would have been out of the lockdown long ago. And I think this kind of confrontation is very bad. Cooperation did not take place at the beginning, but it should take place now. The task of medicine is to provide the decision-makers in politics with the data and recommend measures that can guarantee the safest possible exit from the lockdown, which means that we have to work closely together.

Since 80 per cent of infections are symptom-free at first, the German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, said that antibody tests are important in order to find out whether or not I have already had the virus. How useful are such tests?
There are, of course, over 80 antibody tests, but too little is known about their reliability. I know that the group that is doing research in Rotterdam, Hanover, but also in China, that developed antibodies against Sars, tested these antibodies in vitro against Covid, and they worked. And they are now evaluating them in animal experiments. Of course antibodies would be a blessing. There is now a new Israeli group that claims they have found these antibodies. Regardless of whether it is a vaccination, antibodies, whatever, I think a certain amount of time will pass before millions or billions of people have actually been given the appropriate treatment – despite of everything.

But the plans are already on hand, 3 million such tests are to be delivered this month, and from June onwards 5 million per month. Does that make sense right now?
I think so. I mean, if you can speed up this development and also prove through good medical studies that it works, you can only say, the faster the better.

You have four guest professorships in China, you know Wuhan well, and in 2006 you already established a voluntary foundation. What actually brought you to China?
I worked at the University Hospital of -Zurich, in the field of heart surgery, for 10 years, and in 1999 I spent a year with a visiting doctor from Wuhan. He invited me to give a lecture in Wuhan at the end of 2000. He told me to bring my magnifying glasses. I performed some simple operations, which were transmitted to the next room by video, which I only saw at the end of the operation. There were many chief surgeons from surrounding university hospitals sitting there. Then I received one invitation after another to perform operations in China, publicly. I then came to Vietnam by word of mouth, to Ho Chi Minh City. There they showed me a waiting list of 8,500 children who essentially could not get operations. There were three or four of them to a bed. I still have the video today. So I said, “You have to do something.” And it was the Vietnamese who then asked if more people could come from Europe to Asia to train them on their patients with the means they had available.
And so we came to go from one country to another. We were active in 14 countries in Eurasia and in Africa, there in Eritrea, and we are now mainly active in Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Myanmar. I am also in China every year. And so far we have performed about 4,500 operations on children and adults and treated about 22,000 patients. But of course the main focus is on the training and education of our colleagues in these countries.

So you are well networked. The question always arises, of course, how such a voluntary foundation is financed?
Actually from interested private individuals, many of my patients whom I have operated on in Switzerland have donated to the foundation; for many years these were the main sponsors. Then we also have institutions, companies and firms in Switzerland. We also try to encourage people in these countries themselves to invest in their own health care systems. We say that new clinics are needed or that the clinic needs to be better equipped. You have the money for that, finance that, and then we will bring in what they cannot buy with their millions and billions, that is how it is done, and direct assistance at the operating table, one-to-one teaching also in intensive care, in cardiology and also in other subjects.

Hence your comprehensive view. Now, when they published your guest commentary in the “Mittelländische Zeitung”, what surprised you most about the reactions?
What surprised me the most was that so many people wrote to me that they finally knew what this pandemic was, that here was the much hoped-for information – that was what surprised me the most. That was the main tenor. When I think how many articles a day are published in our media about this pandemic, it really surprised me that people felt they were so badly informed. That is one thing, and the second thing was that most people agreed that our politics should rely on tolerance and mutual understanding. That this road, how shall I say, “we are the good guys and they are the bad”, is not a road leading any-where.

Were there any reactions on the part of politicians? Did the Swiss Federal Council ask you to join their team of experts?
I received a letter from our Federal Council after the first manuscript, and they said they would look at this manuscript and they would deal with my critical remarks. Yes, I got that.

Thank you very much, Professor Vogt, for your visit to “SWR1 Leute”. Your guest commentary will also be published with lots of information added. It ia really worth reading. We are deeply grateful.
Much obliged.          •

1  SARS: “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”. The first cases occurred in November 2002 in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong with a novel infectious agent (SARS corona virus), which causes atypical pneumonia in humans with a severe, often fatal progression.
2  MERS-CoV: “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - related coronavirus” is a virus from the corona virus family, first identified in 2012, which can cause severe respiratory infection, pneumonia and kidney failure in humans.

Source: “SWR1 Leute” from 5 May 2020
(Translation Current Concerns)

  • Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Swiss Board certified for cardiac, vascular and general surgery
  • German, Russian and Ukrainian Board certified for cardiovascular surgery
  • Founder and President of EurAsia Heart Foundation (;
  • Head of Cardiovascular Surgery, Hirslanden Group, Cardiovascular Centre Zurich, Switzerland
  • Senior Consultant + Managing Director, Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospital Zurich

Curriculum vitae

2019 Member of the Board of Directors of Joint-Stock Company Medsi Group, Gruzinskiy pereulok, 3A, Moskau
2018 A) Chief Cardic Surgeon, Ezgu Niyat Medical Center, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2018 B) Honoured Medallist of Vasily P. Kolesov Medal, Pavlov State Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia
2017 Senior Consultant and Managing Director for International Relations and Strategic Projects, Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
2016 Visiting Professor, Yangon Medical University 1, Myanmar
2015 A) Professor and Chair at the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, St. Petersburg State Pediatric University, St. Petersburg, Russia
2015 B) Deputy Chairman, Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center, Kyiv, Ukraine
2015 C) Co-Author of “Ukraine Modernisation Program” for “The Agency of the Modernisation of Ukraine / Workstream EU- Integration” (Co-Authors: Günter Verheugen; Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz; Ken Macdonald; Otto Depenheuer; Waldemar Pawlak; Michael Spindelegger; Illya Yemets)

2014 Founding of Intellistent®, Nidwalden, Schweiz and Swiss International Medical Group, Feusisberg, Switzerland
2011 Honorary Doctorate (Dr h. c) at the Pavlov Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia
2008 Auditor Swiss Transplant Working Group "Heart"
2006 A) Founding of «EurAsia Heart – A Swiss Medical Foundation»; Zurich, Switzerland
2006 B) Chief Consultant Surgeon, Hirslanden Group, "Hospital Im Park", Zurich, Switzerland
2005 Medical Director, “Focus Century Beijing”: International Medical Exchange for Quality and Confidence (, Beijing, PR China
2004 A) Honorary Guest Professor, Clinical Medical College, Yangzhou, PR China

2004 B) Honorary Guest Professor, Shijiazhuang First Hospital, Hebei University, PR China
2003 Swiss Board certified for Vascular Surgery
2001 Honorary Guest Professor, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, PR China
2000 A) Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery, Chairman and Director, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital, Giessen, Germany
2000 B) Vice-President European Homograft Bank, Brussels, Belgium
2000 C) Honorary Guest Professor, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, PR China
1999 A) Fellow of the European Society of Cardiovascular and thoracic Surgery
1999 B)  Board Member of the Swiss Society of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
1997 A) Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
1997 B) Vice Chairman Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland
1995 Academic teacher and Part-time Lecturer Medical Faculty University Zurich, Switzerland for Cardiovascular Surgery and Congenital Cardiac Surgery
1994 Swiss Board certified for Cardiovascular Surgery
1992 Swiss Board certified for General Surgery
1983 Medical Examination, University of Zurich, Switzerland
1976 High School Diploma Type A at Einsiedeln High School, Switzerland (ancient Greek, Latin, Philosophy)

Health and economy

“In the public debate on the further course of action in the fight against the corona pandemic, the interests of health protection are often presented as being in conflict with the interests of the economy. This does not do justice to the problem-situation. If premature relaxation of restrictions led to a second wave of infection, the confidence of consumers and investors would be damaged. Many companies would have to shut down their business activities again regardless of government regulations, and the costs would be considerable. Conversely, however, an extension of the restrictions would also lead to health problems in other areas.

The aim should therefore be to make the further fight against the pandemic sustainable and to reconcile economic and health objectives in the best possible way“.

Source: Dorn, Florian: Khailaie; Sahamodin; Stöckli, Marc; Binder, Sebastian; Lange, Berit; Peichl, Andreas; Vanella, Patrizio; Wollmershäuser, Timo; Fuest; Clemens and Meyer-Herrmann, Michael: “The common interest of health and economy: A scenario receipt/recipe for stopping the Corona Pandemic. A joint-study of the ifo Institution (ifo) and the Helmholtz Center for infection research”, Munich, 13 May 2020; sd-2020-digital-06-ifo-helmholtz-wirtschaft-gesundheit-corona_1.pdf

(Translation Current Concerns)

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