Sir Jeremy Farrar
Farrar in 2009
Jeremy James Farrar

(1961-09-01) 1 September 1961 (age 62)[6]
EducationChurcher's College
Alma mater
Christiane Dolecek
(m. 1998)
AwardsOrder of Ho Chi Minh[1]
Scientific career
ThesisAnalysis of combinatorial immunoglobin libraries from a myasthenia gravis patient (1997)

Sir Jeremy James Farrar OBE FRCP FRS FMedSci[1][8] (born 1 September 1961)[6] is a British medical researcher who has served as Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization since 2023.[9] He was previously the director of The Wellcome Trust from 2013 to 2023 and a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford.[6][5][10][11][12][13]

Early life and education

Born in Singapore, Farrar is the youngest of six children in his family. His father taught English and his mother was a writer and artist. Due to his father's work, he spent his childhood in New Zealand, Cyprus and Libya.[14]

Farrar was educated at Churcher's College[15] and UCL Medical School,[16] from where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in immunology in 1983 and a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1986.[7] Farrar completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Oxford in 1998 on myasthenia gravis.[17]

Career and research

Farrar's research interests are in infectious diseases[16] such as tuberculosis,[18] dengue fever,[19][20][21][22] typhoid fever, malaria, and H5N1 influenza.[2][23][24][25]

Career in academia

From 1996 until 2013, Farrar was Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City.[3][26][27][28] In 2004, he and his Vietnamese colleague Tran Tinh Hien identified the re-emergence of the deadly bird flu, or H5N1, in humans.[29][30] He was Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the University of Oxford from 2000 until 2013.[6]

In addition to his academic work, Farrar was part of the Center for Global Development’s Working Group on Priority-Setting Institutions for Global Health in 2012.[31]

Wellcome Trust, 2013–2023

In 2013, Farrar was appointed Director of the Wellcome Trust.[6] During his time at the Wellcome Trust, with Chris Whitty and Neil Ferguson, he co-authored an article in Nature titled "Infectious disease: Tough choices to reduce Ebola transmission",[32] explaining the UK government's response to Ebola in Sierra Leone, including the proposal to build and support centres where people could self-isolate voluntarily if they suspected that they could have the disease.[33] In July 2015, he co-authored a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine (with Adel Mahmoud and Stanley A. Plotkin), titled "Establishing a Global Vaccine-Development Fund", that led to the founding in 2017 of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).[34][35] Together with a number of others, in 2016 he proposed a World Serum Bank as a means of helping combat epidemics.[36]

In addition to his role at the Wellcome Trust, Farrar has served as chair on several advisory boards for governments and global organizations. In 2017, he was part of the selection committee chaired by Jules A. Hoffmann that chose Stewart Cole as director of the Institut Pasteur.[37] From 2017 until 2019, he was a member of the German Ministry of Health’s International Advisory Board on Global Health, chaired by Ilona Kickbusch.[38] In 2019 he served on The Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis, co-chaired by Eric Goosby, Dean Jamison and Soumya Swaminathan.[39] He is also a member of the Health and Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council (HBMS IAC) at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore.[40]

In 2020, he was appointed to the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, co-chaired by Sheikh Hasina and Mia Mottley.[41] In the preparations for the Global Health Summit hosted by the European Commission and the G20 in May 2021, he was a member of the event's High Level Scientific Panel.[42]

Farrar has served on a number of WHO committees, co-chairing the World Health Organization’s working group on dengue vaccines from 2015 until 2016.[43][44] Since its inception in 2017, Farrar has been chairing the Scientific Advisory Group of the WHO R&D Blueprint, a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of research activities during epidemics.[45] From 2018 to 2022, he served on the joint World Bank/WHO Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), co-chaired by Elhadj As Sy and Gro Harlem Brundtland.[46][47] In 2019, he co-chaired a WHO committee evaluating Ebola therapeutics.[48][49]

Farrah has also served on UK governments committees. In May 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government’s Vaccine Task Force.[50] He has also served as a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), led by Patrick Vallance[51] (up to 2 November 2021, when Farrar resigned in disagreement with the government's approach), and Public Health England’s Serology Working Group.[52] During Farrar's time in SAGE, Health Secretary Matt Hancock sought to have him removed from the group following his criticisms of the government's handling of Covid, the abolition of Public Health England (PHE) and the appointment of Dido Harding to head the ineffective and expensive Test and Trace programme.[53]

[50] In July 2021 he published the book Spike: The Virus vs The People, co-authored with Financial Times journalist Anjana Ahuja, giving his account of the UK government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.[54]


On 19 February 2020, Farrar, along with 26 other scientists, published as a co-author of the Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19, which declared "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin."

Farrar wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian on Dec. 4, 2021 stating he feared not enough was being done to vaccinate people in poor nations against COVID-19. Farrar stated, “The longer this virus continues to spread in largely unvaccinated populations globally, the more likely it is that a variant that can overcome our vaccines and treatments will emerge. If that happens, we could be close to square one. This political drift and lack of leadership is prolonging the pandemic for everyone, with governments unwilling to really address inequitable access to the vaccines, tests and treatment. There have been wonderful speeches, warm words, but not the actions needed to ensure fair access to what we know works and would bring the pandemic to a close.”[55]

Other activities

Corporate boards

Non-profit organizations

Awards and honours

Farrar is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 New Year Honours for services to healthcare, especially the prevention of tropical diseases, in Vietnam.[76] His citation on election to the Academy of Medical Sciences reads:[77]

Jeremy Farrar is director of the Wellcome Trust-funded Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. Over the past ten years he has created a remarkable research institute in which his own research productivity has been phenomenal and an impressive training program has been developed. Under his direction the research programme has conducted seminal work on malaria, dengue, typhoid, tetanus, pyogenic and tuberculous meningitis and has become the leading centre for clinical research on avian influenza. These Pivotal clinical and virological studies have identified the dual importance of viral burden and the cytokine response to the lethal pathogenesis of avian influenza, and have described the rapid emergence of resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors. The unit has also conducted important research into Dengue shock syndrome, conducting the only large prospective randomised trials of fluid replacement and has provided an evidence-base for revision of the World Health Organisation classification. His commitment to fighting emerging infectious diseases at their source in developing countries is commendable and his contribution to capacity building in Vietnam and other countries is vital for the future of health care in these regions and serves as a model for others to follow.

Farrar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015.[8] He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Global Health.[78]

Personal life

Farrar has been married to Christiane Dolecek, an Austrian-born typhoid researcher, since 1998.[29] They have three children and live in Oxford.[29] Since 2011, the family [79] has focused on providing educational assistance to youth from Vietnam and Nepal.[80]


  1. ^ a b "Jeremy Farrar – Epidemiologist". BBC.
  2. ^ a b Woolhouse, Mark; Farrar, Jeremy (2014). "Policy: An intergovernmental panel on antimicrobial resistance". Nature. 509 (7502): 555–7. doi:10.1038/509555a. PMID 24877180.
  3. ^ a b "Oxford University Clinical Research Unit".
  4. ^ The Farrar Foundation,
  5. ^ a b Farrar, J; Cressey, D (2014). "Straight talk with...Jeremy Farrar". Nature Medicine. 20 (2): 112. doi:10.1038/nm0214-112. PMID 24504397. S2CID 205376332.
  6. ^ a b c d e Anon (2016). "Farrar, Sir Jeremy (James)". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U275899. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ a b "Jeremy Farrar".
  8. ^ a b "Professor Jeremy Farrar OBE FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
  9. ^ Anon (2022). "World Health Organization names Sir Jeremy Farrar as Chief Scientist, Dr Amelia Latu Afuhaamango Tuipulotu as Chief Nursing Officer".
  10. ^ Van Noorden, Richard (2013). "Clinician to head Wellcome Trust: Jeremy Farrar to lead one of world's largest research charities". Nature. 497 (7447): 19. Bibcode:2013Natur.497...19V. doi:10.1038/497019a. PMID 23636375.
  11. ^ Maxmen, A. (2009). "Jeremy Farrar: When disaster strikes". Journal of Experimental Medicine. 206 (1): 4–5. doi:10.1084/jem.2061pi. PMC 2626674. PMID 19153250.
  12. ^ Jeremy Farrar publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  13. ^ A very Wellcome appointment: Professor Jeremy Farrar, who takes over as director of the Wellcome Trust in October 2013, The Guardian, 25 April 2013
  14. ^ James Ashton (18 January 2015), Jeremy Farrar interview: Wellcome Trust director says 'I'm not a great believer in the power of prayer' The Independent.
  15. ^ Iqbal, Nosheen (6 December 2020). "Covid scientist Jeremy Farrar had recurring nightmare about failing A-levels". The Guardian.
  16. ^ a b Jeremy Farrar Interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on The Life Scientific, 14 July 2014
  17. ^ Farrar, Jeremy (1997). Analysis of combinatorial immunoglobin libraries from a myasthenia gravis patient (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. EThOS
  18. ^ Thwaites, G. E.; Nguyen, N. D.; Nguyen, N. H.; Hoang, H. T.; Do, D. T. T.; Nguyen, N. T. C.; Nguyen, N. Q.; Nguyen, N. T.; Nguyen, N. N.; Nguyen, N. T. N.; Nguyen, N. N.; Nguyen, N. H.; Vu, V. N.; Cao, C. H.; Tran, T. T. H.; Pham, P. P.; Nguyen, N. T.; Stepniewska, K.; White, N. J.; Tran, T. T.; Farrar, J. J. (2004). "Dexamethasone for the Treatment of Tuberculous Meningitis in Adolescents and Adults". New England Journal of Medicine. 351 (17): 1741–1751. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa040573. PMID 15496623.
  19. ^ Tricou, V.; Vu, H. T.; Quynh, N. V.; Nguyen, C. V.; Tran, H. T.; Farrar, J.; Wills, B.; Simmons, C. P. (2010). "Comparison of two dengue NS1 rapid tests for sensitivity, specificity and relationship to viraemia and antibody responses". BMC Infectious Diseases. 10: 142. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-142. PMC 2895602. PMID 20509940.
  20. ^ Guzman, M. G.; Halstead, S. B.; Artsob, H.; Buchy, P.; Farrar, J.; Gubler, D. J.; Hunsperger, E.; Kroeger, A.; Margolis, H. S.; Martínez, E.; Nathan, M. B.; Pelegrino, J. L.; Simmons, C.; Yoksan, S.; Peeling, R. W. (2010). "Dengue: A continuing global threat". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 8 (12): S7–16. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2460. PMC 4333201. PMID 21079655.
  21. ^ Wills, B. A.; Dung, N. M.; Loan, H. T.; Tam, D. T. H.; Thuy, T. T. N.; Minh, L. T. T.; Diet, T. V.; Hao, N. T.; Chau, N. V.; Stepniewska, K.; White, N. J.; Farrar, J. J. (2005). "Comparison of Three Fluid Solutions for Resuscitation in Dengue Shock Syndrome". New England Journal of Medicine. 353 (9): 877–89. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa044057. PMID 16135832. S2CID 30791461.
  22. ^ Solomon, T.; Dung, N. M.; Vaughn, D. W.; Kneen, R.; Thao, L. T. T.; Raengsakulrach, B.; Loan, H. T.; Day, N. P.; Farrar, J.; Myint, K. S.; Warrell, M. J.; James, W. S.; Nisalak, A.; White, N. J. (2000). "Neurological manifestations of dengue infection". The Lancet. 355 (9209): 1053–1059. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02036-5. PMID 10744091. S2CID 21731410.
  23. ^ Farrar, J. (2012). "H5N1 surveillance: Shift expertise to where it matters". Nature. 483 (7391): 534–535. Bibcode:2012Natur.483..534F. doi:10.1038/483534a. PMC 7095293. PMID 22460881.
  24. ^ Hien, T. T.; Nguyen, N. T.; Nguyen, N. T.; Luong, L. T.; Pham, P. P.; Nguyen, N. V. V.; Pham, P. T.; Vo, V. C.; Le, L. T. Q.; Ngo, N. T.; Dao, D. B.; Le, L. P.; Nguyen, N. T.; Hoang, H. T.; Cao, C. V.; Le, L. T.; Nguyen, N. D.; Le, L. H.; Nguyen, N. T. K.; Le, L. H.; Le, L. V.; Christiane, C.; Tran, T. T.; Menno De, M.; Schultsz, C.; Cheng, P.; Lim, W.; Horby, P.; Farrar, J.; World Health Organization International Avian Influenza Investigative Team (2004). "Avian Influenza A (H5N1) in 10 Patients in Vietnam". New England Journal of Medicine. 350 (12): 1179–1188. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa040419. PMID 14985470.
  25. ^ De Jong, M. D.; Simmons, C. P.; Thanh, T. T.; Hien, V. M.; Smith, G. J. D.; Chau, T. N. B.; Hoang, D. M.; Chau, N.; Khanh, T. H.; Dong, V. C.; Qui, P. T.; Cam, B.; Ha Do, D. Q.; Guan, Y.; Peiris, J. S. M.; Chinh, N. T.; Hien, T. T.; Farrar, J. (2006). "Fatal outcome of human influenza A (H5N1) is associated with high viral load and hypercytokinemia". Nature Medicine. 12 (10): 1203–1207. doi:10.1038/nm1477. PMC 4333202. PMID 16964257.
  26. ^ Watts, Geoff (2013). "Jeremy Farrar: Wellcome arrival from southeast Asia". The Lancet. 382 (9899): 1167. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62047-4. PMID 24095187. S2CID 205970840.
  27. ^ Jeremy Farrar on Connecting your research with society on YouTube
  28. ^ Exchanges at the Frontier: Jeremy Farrar on YouTube
  29. ^ a b c Annie Maccoby Berglof (20 June 2014), At Home with the FT House & Home: Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar Financial Times.
  30. ^ Jeremy Farrar seeks innovative backgrounds to help fight infectious diseases, Wired UK on YouTube
  31. ^ Working Group on Priority-Setting Institutions for Global Health Center for Global Development (CGD).
  32. ^ Whitty, Christopher J. M.; Farrar, Jeremy; Ferguson, Neil; Edmunds, W. John; Piot, Peter; Leach, Melissa; Davies, Sally C. (2014). "Infectious disease: Tough choices to reduce Ebola transmission". Nature. 515 (7526): 192–194. Bibcode:2014Natur.515..192W. doi:10.1038/515192a. PMID 25391946.
  33. ^ "Infectious disease: Tough choices to reduce Ebola transmission | Ebola Response Anthropology Platform". Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  34. ^ a b Jon Cohen (2 September 2016). "New vaccine coalition aims to ward off epidemics". Science. 353 (6303).
  35. ^ Stanley A. Plotkin; Adel A.F. Mahmoud; Jeremy Farrar (23 July 2015). "Establishing a Global Vaccine-Development Fund". The New England Journal of Medicine. 373 (4): 297–300. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1506820. PMID 26200974.
  36. ^ Metcalf, C Jessica E.; Farrar, Jeremy; Cutts, Felicity T.; Basta, Nicole E.; Graham, Andrea L.; Lessler, Justin; Ferguson, Neil M.; Burke, Donald S.; Grenfell, Bryan T. (2016). "Use of serological surveys to generate key insights into the changing global landscape of infectious disease". The Lancet. 388 (10045): 728–730. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30164-7. PMC 5678936. PMID 27059886.
  37. ^ Launch of the recruitment process for the Director of the Institut Pasteur Institut Pasteur, press release of 2 May 2017.
  38. ^ Four new members complete the International Advisory Board on Global Health Federal Ministry of Health, press release of July 2, 2018.
  39. ^ Commissioners The Lancet Commission on TB.
  40. ^ Health and Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council (HBMS IAC) Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore.
  41. ^ Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance World Health Organization.
  42. ^ Global Health Summit: Panel of Scientific Experts European Commission.
  43. ^ SAGE Working Group on Dengue Vaccines and Vaccination (March 2015 to August 2016) World Health Organization.
  44. ^ Julie Steenhuysen and Ben Hirschler (13 December 2017), Did Sanofi, WHO ignore warning signals on dengue vaccine? Reuters.
  45. ^ R&D Blueprint Scientific Advisory Group members World Health Organization.
  46. ^ WHO and World Bank Group Join Forces to Strengthen Global Health Security World Bank, press release of 24 May 2018.
  47. ^ Global Preparedness Monitoring Board Announces New Board Membership, Bringing Diverse Expertise to Independent Monitoring World Bank/WHO Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), press release of 30 September 2022.
  48. ^ Donald G. McNeil Jr. (12 August 2019), A Cure for Ebola? Two New Treatments Prove Highly Effective in Congo The New York Times.
  49. ^ Sarah Boseley (August 12, 2019), Ebola now curable after trials of drugs in DRC, say scientists The Guardian.
  50. ^ a b Funding and manufacturing boost for UK vaccine programme Government of the United Kingdom, press release of May 17, 2020.
  51. ^ Mark Landler and Stephen Castle (April 23, 2020), The Secretive Group Guiding the U.K. on Coronavirus New York Times.
  52. ^ List of participants of SAGE and related sub-groups, 7 May 2020 Government of the United Kingdom.
  53. ^ Campbell, Denis (5 March 2023). "Matt Hancock plotted to oust NHS England chief, WhatsApp leak shows". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  54. ^ "Book review: Spike - The Virus vs the People, by Sir Jeremy Farrar and Anjana Ahuja | The Scotsman".
  55. ^ UK’s progress on Covid now squandered, warns top scientist The Guardian
  56. ^ Temasek Review 2019: Temasek International Panel Temasek Holdings.
  57. ^ Climate & Health Initiative Planning Committee National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
  58. ^ Who we are Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA).
  59. ^ Appointments and changes to the Genome Research Limited Board Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, press release of 9 December 2019.
  60. ^ GHIT Fund Announces New Council Member Jeremy Farrar Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), press release of 8 August 2018.
  61. ^ Clive Cookson (18 January 2017). "Davos launch for coalition to prevent epidemics of emerging viruses". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 March 2020. Billion-dollar programme aims to cut vaccine-development time from 12 years to one
  62. ^ About Us Global He@lth 2030 Innovation Task Force.
  63. ^ Strategic Advisory Board Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).
  64. ^ Board of Trustess Aga Khan University.
  65. ^ Advisory Board & Senior Sponsors Forward Institute.
  66. ^ GovernanceGlobal Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R).
  67. ^ Jeremy Farrar Francis Crick Institute.
  68. ^ Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR) National Health Service.
  69. ^ Editors and Publishers The New England Journal of Medicine.
  70. ^ International Advisory Board Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS).
  71. ^ Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR).
  72. ^ Vanke School of Public Health: International Advisory Board Tsinghua University.
  73. ^ Advisory Board WHO Collaborating Centre for Modelling, Evolution and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Cambridge.
  74. ^ Global Advisory Board WomenLift Health.
  75. ^ "Global Leaders Group for antimicrobial resistance- Members". Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  76. ^ "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. p. 24.
  77. ^ "Dr Jeremy Farrar OBE FMedSci". London: Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  78. ^ "No. 62507". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N2.
  79. ^ "Farrar Foundation".
  80. ^ Katrin Elger and Veronika Hackenbroch (8 December 2014), Epidemics Expert Jeremy Farrar: 'The Most Dangerous Emerging Disease Is Drug Resistance' Der Spiegel.
Cultural offices Preceded byMark Walport Director of the Wellcome Trust 2013 – date Incumbent