Skip to main contents
Recognition for the Ennoblement of the Human Sprit in Academics, The Arts, and Human Welfare

1992 Laureates

Ho-Wang Lee

Laureates Story

  • Medicine
  • Ho-Wang Lee
    Professor, Korea University
  • Education & Work Experience
    1928 Born in Sinhung, South Hamkyeng Province, Korea. 1954 Graduated from the College of Medicine,Seoul National University. 1959 Received a doctorate in Medicine from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A. 1960 ~ 1972 Professor at the College of Medicine, Seoul National University. 1972 ~ Professor and Dean, College of Medicine, Korea University. 1981 ~ Member of the Korean National Academy of Sciences. 1981 ~ Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Virus Reference and  Research. 1987 ~ President of the International Conference on Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome.


Prof. Ho-Wang Lee discovered the virus of the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. He named it the ″Hantan Virus″ after the name of a river north of Seoul, and he developed the virus vaccine for popular use. Dr. Lee`s microbiological research team succeeded in discovering the virus of hemorrhagic fever, known as one of the world`s three fatal contagious diseases, in 1976 as a result of hard work over eight years. The discovery caused a sensation in the international community of medical science, as many scholars in other countries had failed in their efforts over the years. In the United States, intensive research had been conducted in vain for 13 years, starting in 1951.

Dr. Lee faced various difficulties in the course of his research. Some people misunderstood his aim, thinking he was engaged in developing a biological weapon. Moreover several of his team members contracted the disease. He overcamed the difficulties, however, to complete a diagnosing method in 1989. He developed the vaccine for the virus in 1990. Dr. Lee made an unprecedented achievement in the history of medicine by successfully undertaking the entire process of discovering the virus of a contagious disease, establishing a method to diagnose it and developing a vaccine against it.