Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam, a molecular virologist from Monash University Malaysia’s Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has earned the prestigious ‘UniteHealth 2023 COVID-19 Influencers Social Media Award’. Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam is an Associate Professor at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences and a qualified molecular virologist. Dr. Vinod received his PhD from Monash University and his postdoctoral study in Influenza and Flavivirus Infectomics at the Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He has developed his own research niche centered on “Crosstalk between host cellular factors and viruses,” specifically how host cells interact and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiologic process of virus infection, particularly RNA viruses with pandemic potential (Influenza, Coronavirus, ZIKA, Dengue, Chikungunya, and Enteroviruses). Dr Vinod has written high-impact journals on infectious disease pathogenesis, vaccines, and treatments, and has received several external grants from the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education and industry.
He was honoured with this award for utilizing the social media platform to spread awareness to the society about the COVID-19. COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This was a global pandemic which affected the entire life style of us. When the vaccine was invented to boost our immune system to combat the disease, there were also rumours that the vaccine has its side effect. Hence, Malaysians were also hesitating to get the vaccine. Dr Vinod shared many useful information pertaining to COVID-19 and importance of vaccines on social media. His initiative was a much needed advise and guidance for the society at the right time.
Dr Vinod was the distinguished winner in the “Understanding the Virus” category out of over 300 contenders, making him the only person from Malaysia to receive this prestigious award. It is truly a proud moment for Malaysians. Dr Vinod was nominated for the honour for his significant contributions to public education about vaccine advocacy, in-depth knowledge of the virus, and other critical facets of the pandemic. The winners in each award category were chosen through a meticulous evaluation process that took into account various factors such as the number of votes received by each nominee, their statements highlighting the importance of social media during the pandemic, and their individual use of social channels for disseminating vital information.
After winning the award, Dr Vinod conveyed his great thanks and sense of respect.
“I am deeply honoured and grateful to receive the UniteHealth 2023 COVID-19 Influencers Social Media Award. I am passionate about utilising these platforms to educate and empower the public, and this award is a testament to the impact of collective efforts in fighting the infodemic. I share this recognition with the global community that has supported me and remains committed to leveraging social media for the betterment of public health. Together, we can navigate through challenging times and emerge stronger.” , said Dr Vinod.
Image source: The Petri Dish
According to Dr Vinod, the recognition was given to him for his efforts in “bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public.” This tremendous accomplishment demonstrates Dr Vinod’s unwavering commitment to world health and his outstanding efforts during the ongoing battle against COVID-19. His passion and imaginative use of social media platforms have surely had an enormous effect on the pandemic’s fight. During the epidemic, he attempted to reduce public worries in both Malaysia and Australia, as well as to increase vaccine uptake in both nations. The contribution of Dr Vinod is priceless and indeed he is well deserved for the prestigious award.
Source: Monash University