Combating Infectious Diseases through the Virus Hunter Campaign

Kuala Lumpur – On Wednesday June 23rd, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Health, Tan Sri Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, and U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, Brian McFeeters jointly launched the Virus Hunter campaign. Organized by the Penang Science Cluster (PSC) with the support of U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, the Virus Hunter campaign is aimed at increasing the public, especially young people’s, interest in STEM, awareness about combating infectious diseases, and ability to identify pandemic misinformation.

Featuring content on topics like zoonotic diseases and vaccine research, Virus Hunter will initially launch as a website (www.VirusHunterExhibit.com) along with virtual STEM workshops conducted by the team at the Penang Science Cluster.  Once restrictions on movement and in-person gatherings have been lifted, a physical Virus Hunter exhibit will travel to seven cities in Malaysia and include live workshops and science demonstrations.

Ambassador McFeeters highlighted “We hope that thousands of young people across Malaysia will experience Virus Hunter with the guidance of their teachers, parents, and other mentors and along the way will learn about the origins of pandemics, the science behind the incredible success of vaccines to combat COVID-19, and why its so important that countries work together to prevent global pandemics.”

Following the launch, PSC will kick off a series of virtual workshops for secondary school students.  Science communicators will guide two-hour virtual workshops with students at the various American Corners in Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak. Students will undergo a simulation of the vaccine development process and learn how to create safe and effective vaccines.

The United States has historically played a leading role in promoting global public health.  Under the global PREDICT program, the U.S. has funded research in Eastern Malaysia for over a decade to better detect and understand emerging infectious diseases from wildlife.

The U.S. is also a champion of expanding opportunities for STEM education.  The Embassy supports the Virus Hunter Campaign through its American Tech Corner (ATC) partnership with PSC.  Established at PSC in 2018, the ATC showcases American technology and innovation and highlights education opportunities in STEM for the Malaysian public.

For more information on the Virus Hunter Campaign and American Corners, please visit the following links:

Virus Hunter Interactive Website: www.VirusHunterExhibit.com

Recording of Virus Hunter launch on Facebook live: https://fb.watch/6iuw4d_6BA/

(Video) Virus Hunter Digital Experience Tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W66GUBMonkQ 

(Video) Virus Hunter Physical Exhibition Tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFVeZ4JiBoI 

American Corners in Malaysia: https://my.usembassy.gov/education-culture/american-spaces/ 

Penang Science Cluster: https://www.pscpen.com/