Professional background

Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla is professor of infectious diseases and international health at University College London. He is also a consultant infectious diseases at UCLH, honorary consultant at Royal Free Hospital, and holds a UK NIHR senior Investigator award. His London and overseas research activities span the interface between clinical investigation and biomedical science, with the long-term goals of understanding the pathogenesis of respiratory tract infections, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential, afflicting adults and children, and developing methods for rapid diagnosis, better treatment and control.

Sir Ali's research embraces the principles of evidence-based medicine, contributing knowledge through specific clinical research, and training activities in the UK, Europe and in sub-Saharan African countries. He is visiting professor to several European and African universities  and serves on many national and international advisory committees.

Sir Zumla has been ranked by several analyses as UK’s top communicable diseases expert ( He is also listed top of the UK coronaviruses expert list ( and top ranked in the global list of coronavirus experts ( His global leadership of infectious diseases has earned him numerous prestigious prizes, medals and awards and his work reflects the UK NHS's influence on and contributions to global health.

Europe-Africa network:

Research interests

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Emerging and re-emerging infections
  • Coronavirus infections (MERS, SARS-CoV-2)
  • Tropical diseases
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Rapid diagnostics for respiratory infections
  • Endocarditis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Host-directed therapies

Languages spoken



Over 770 publications (650 Pubmed articles, 21 Textbooks, 65 book chapters and 38 Journal Specialist Theme Series)
Sir Zumla ranked in the top Clarivate 2019 list of the world’s most influential and highly cited authors (
He has achieved exceptional publication indices: Google Scholar i10Index=988; H-Index=129 and 84,000 citations.

1. McCloskey B, Zumla A, Ippolito G, Blumberg L, Arbon P, Cicero A, Endericks T, Lim PL,
Borodina M, on behalf of the WHO Novel Coronavirus-19 Mass Gatherings Expert Group
Mass gathering events and reducing further global spread of COVID-19: a political and public health dilemma. The Lancet. 2020 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30681-4. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

2. Ansumana R, Sankoh O, Zumla A. Effects of disruption from COVID-19 on antimalarial strategies. Nature Medicine. 2020 Sep;26(9):1334-1336

3. Carsetti R, Quintarelli C, Quinti I, Piano Mortari E, Zumla A, Ippolito G, Locatelli F. The immune system of children: the key to understanding SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility?
Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2020 Jun;4(6):414-416.

4. Zumla A, Hui DS, Azhar EI, Memish ZA, Maeurer M. Reducing mortality from 2019-nCoV: host-directed therapies should be an option. The Lancet. 2020 Feb 22;395(10224):e35-e36.

5. Memish ZA, Perlman S, Van Kerkhove MD, Zumla A. Middle East respiratory syndrome. The Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1063-1077.

6. Zhang JY, Wang XM, Xing X, Xu Z, Zhang C, Song JW, Fan X, Xia P, Fu JL, Wang SY, Xu RN, Dai XP, Shi L, Huang L, Jiang TJ, Shi M, Zhang Y, Zumla A, Maeurer M, Bai F, Wang FS. Single-cell landscape of immunological responses in patients with COVID-19.
Nature Immunology. 2020 Sep;21(9):1107-1118

7. Mehtar S, Preiser W, Lakhe NA, Bousso A, TamFum JM, Kallay O, Seydi M, Zumla A, Nachega JB. Limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Africa: one size mitigation strategies do not fit all countries. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Jul;8(7):e881-e883

8. Agrati C, Sacchi A, Bordoni V, Cimini E, Notari S, Grassi G, Casetti R, Tartaglia E, Lalle E, D'Abramo A, Castilletti C, Marchioni L, Shi Y, Mariano A, Song JW, Zhang JY, Wang FS, Zhang C, Fimia GM, Capobianchi MR, Piacentini M, Antinori A, Nicastri E, Maeurer M, Zumla A, Ippolito G. Expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Nature Cell Death Differ. 2020 Jun 8:1-12.

9. Meng F, Xu R, Wang S, Xu Z, Zhang C, Li Y, Yang T, Shi L, Fu J, Jiang T, Huang L, Zhao P, Yuan X, Fan X, Zhang JY, Song J, Zhang D, Jiao Y, Liu L, Zhou C, Maeurer M, Zumla A, Shi M, Wang FS. Human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy in patients with COVID-19: a phase 1 clinical trial.
Nature- Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2020 Aug 27;5(1):172.

10. Marais BJ, Chakaya J, Swaminathan S, Fox GJ, Ehtesham NZ, Ntoumi F, Zijenah L, Maurer M, Zumla A. Tackling long-term morbidity and mortality after successful tuberculosis treatment
Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Jun;20(6):641-642.

11. Dexter D, Simons D, Kiyaga C, Kapata N, Ntoumi F, Kock R, Zumla A. Mitigating the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on sickle cell disease services in African countries.
Lancet Haematology. 2020 Jun;7(6):e430-e432

12. Nachega JB, Grimwood A, Mahomed H, Fatti G, Preiser W, Kallay O, Mbala PK, Muyembe JT, Rwagasore E, Nsanzimana S, Ngamije D, Condo J, Sidat M, Noormahomed EV, Reid M, Lukeni B, Suleman F, Mteta A, Zumla A. From Easing Lockdowns to Scaling-Up Community-Based COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Contact Tracing in Africa - Shared Approaches, Innovations, and Challenges to Minimize Morbidity and Mortality.
Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020 May 31:ciaa695. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa695.

13. Sahu S, Ditiu L, Lawson L, Ntoumi F, Arakaki D, Zumla A. UN General Assembly tuberculosis targets: are we on track? The Lancet. 2020 Mar 21;395(10228):928-930.

14. Zumla A, Yeboah-Manu D, Michel AL, Azhar EI, Torrelles JB, Cadmus SI, Kendall SL, Chakaya JM, Marais B, Kock R. Zoonotic tuberculosis-a call for an open One Health debate. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Jun;20(6):642-644.

15. Memish ZA, Steffen R, White P, Osman Dar, Azhar EI, Sharma A, Zumla A. Mass gatherings medicine: public health issues arising from mass gathering religious and sporting events.
The Lancet. 2019;393(10185):2073-2084.

16. Zumla A, Niederman MS. Editorial: The explosive epidemic outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the persistent threat of respiratory tract infectious diseases to global health security.
Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 2020 May;26(3):193-196

17. Memish ZA, Steffen R, White P, Dar O, Azhar EI, Sharma A, Zumla A. Mass gatherings medicine: public health issues arising from mass gathering religious and sporting events: Kumbh Mela, Festival of Pacific Arts, Micronesia Games, World Scout Jamboree, Music concerts, Rio Olympics and the Hajj.
The Lancet. 2019 May 18;393(10185):2073-2084.

18. Lanini S, Ioannidis JPA, Vairo F, Pletschette M, Portella G, Di Bari V, Mammone A, Pisapia R, Merler S, Nguhuni B, Langer M, Di Caro A, Edwards SJL, Petrosillo N, Zumla A, Ippolito G. Non-inferiority versus superiority trial design for new antibiotics in an era of high antimicrobial resistance: the case for post-marketing, adaptive randomised controlled trials.
Lancet Infectious Diseases. Dec 2019;19(12):e444–e451. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30284-1

19. Perlman S, Azhar E, Memish ZA, Hui D, Zumla A. Confronting the persisting threat of the Middle East respiratory syndrome to global health security.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2019:Jul 3. pii: S1473-3099(19)30347-0. PMID: 31279728

20. Petersen E, Chakaya J, Jawad FM, Ippolito G, Zumla A. Latent TB infection- when to treat? Author reply to Arrazola de Oñate Wouter.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2019: Jul;19(7):691-692.

21. McHugh TD, Honeyborne I, Lipman M, Zumla A. Revolutionary new treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2019:19(3):233-234.

22. Petersen E, Chakaya J, Jawad FM, Ippolito G, Zumla A. Latent tuberculosis infection: diagnostic tests and when to treat.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases- 2019: Mar;19(3):231-233.

23. Abubakar I, Chakaya J, Maeurer J, Zumla A. Towards optimal treatment regimens for LTBI- low versus high TB endemic areas.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine -2019 Mar;7(3):195-197.

24. Meremikwu M, Zumla A. Isoniazid preventive therapy for children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa -obstacles and opportunities.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine -2019 Mar;7(3):197-199.

25. Sahu S, Ditiu L, Zumla A. After the United Nations General Assembly High Level Declaration on Tuberculosis Era - What next and how?
The Lancet Global Health-2019 May;7(5):e558-e560.

26. Kock R, Haider N, Leonard Mboera, Zumla A.
A One-Health (ONE Human-Environmental-Animal-HEALTH) lens for Anthrax. Lancet Planetary Health. 2019. July. Vol. 3, No. 7, e285–e286.

27. Zumla A, Memish ZA, Hui DS, Perlman S. Vaccine against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2019 Oct;19(10):1054-1055. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30477-3. PMID: 31559955

28. Muneer A, Macrae B, Krishnamoorthy S, Zumla A. Urogenital tuberculosis - epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical features. Nat Rev Urol. 2019 Oct;16(10):573-598. doi: 10.1038/s41585-019-0228-9. PMID: 31548730

29. El-Kafrawy SA, Corman VM, Tolah AM, Al Masaudi SB, Müller MA, Bleicker T, Harakeh SM, Alzahrani AA, Alsaaidi GA , Alagili AN, Hashem AM, Zumla A*, Drosten C*, Azhar EI**contributed equally. Enzootic patterns of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in imported African and local Arabian dromedary camels: a prospective genomic study.
Lancet Planetary Health. Dec 2019;3(12):e521–e528. doi:10.1016/S2542-5196(19)30243-8
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30. Zumla A, Memish ZA. Risk of antibiotic resistant meningococcal infections in Hajj pilgrims.
BMJ. 2019 Aug 23;366:l5260. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l5260. PMID: 31444169

31. Marais B, Zumla A. Advancing global tuberculosis control after the UNGA-HLM.
The Lancet. 2018 Sep 24. pii: S0140-6736(18)32361-4

32. Hui D, Azhar EI, Kim YJ, Memish ZA, Oh MD, Zumla A.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus - Epidemiology, Risk Factors and Determinants of Primary, Household, and Nosocomial Transmission.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018 Apr 18. pii: S1473-3099(18)30127-0.

33. Zumla A, Azhar E, Hui DS, Shafi S, Petersen E, Memish ZA.
Global Spread of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and mass-gathering religious events.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018 May;18(5):488-490.

34. Tiberi S, DU Plessis N, Walzl G, Vjecha M, Rao M, Ntoumi F, Mfinanga S, Kapata N, Mwana P, Mchugh T, Ippolito G, Migliori GB, Maeurer M, Zumla A.
Tuberculosis: Progress and Advances in Development of New Drugs, Treatment Regimens and Host-Directed Therapies.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018 Mar 23. pii: S1473-3099(18)30110-5.

35. Walzl G, Mcnerney R, DU Plessis N, Bates M, McHugh TD, Chegou N, Zumla A.
Tuberculosis: Advances and challenges in development of new diagnostics and biomarkers.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018 Mar 23. pii: S1473-3099(18)30111-7. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30111-7.

36. Herbert N, Sharma V, Masham S, Sheehan S, Hauser J, Zumla A.
Concrete action now – the road to the UN High Level meeting on tuberculosis.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2018 Mar 23. pii: S1473-3099(18)30171-3.

37. Floyd K, Glaziou P, Zumla A, Raviglione M.
The Global Tuberculosis Epidemic - Progress in Patient Care, Prevention and Control Efforts in Year Three of the ‘End TB Era’.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2018 Apr;6(4):299-314.

38. Lienhardt C, Zumla A, Gebreselaasie N, Frick M, Gray G, Kaseava T, Raviglione M.
Tuberculosis research and development: Seeding the future.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2018 Apr;6(4):242-244.

39. Maeurer M, Rao M and Zumla A.
B cells or T cells in TB: a continuing conundrum.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2018: Vol 6 April 2018. 237-238.

40. Vjecha M, Tiberi S, Zumla A.
Accelerating development of therapeutic strategies for drug-resistant Tuberculosis.
Nature Reviews Drugs Discovery 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2018.28.

41. Abena PM, Decloedt EH, Bottieau E, Suleman F, Adejumo P, Sam-Agudu NA, Muyembe TamFum JJ, Seydi M, Eholie SP, Mills EJ, Kallay O, Zumla A, Nachega JB.
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for the Prevention or Treatment of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Africa: Caution for Inappropriate Off-Label Use in Healthcare Settings
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jun;102(6):1184-1188

42. Kock RA, Karesh WB, Veas F, Velavan TP, Simons D, Mboera LEG, Dar O, Arruda LB, Zumla A. 2019-nCoV in context: lessons learned? Lancet Planet Health. 2020 Mar;4(3):e87-e88

43. Zumla A, Chan JF, Azhar EI, Hui D, Yuen KY. Coronavirus-drug discovery and therapeutic options –state of the art review (invited). Nature Reviews Drugs Discovery. 2016 May;15(5):327-47.

44. Wallis RS, Maeurer M, Mwaba P, Chakaya J, Rustomjee R, Migliori GB, Marais B, Schito M, Churchyard G, Swaminathan S, Hoelscher M, Zumla A. Tuberculosis – Advances in Development of New Drugs, Treatment Regimens, Host-Directed Therapies and Biomarkers. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016:16:4. e34-e46. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)00070-0.

45. Khan M, Osei-Kofi A, Omar A, Kirkbride H, Kessel A, Abbara A, Heymann D, Zumla A, Dar O. Pathogens, prejudice and politics: defining the role of the global health community in the European refugee crisis.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016: Aug;16(8):e173-7. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)30134

46. Zumla A, Rao M, Wallis RS, Kaufmann SH, Rustomjee R, Mwaba P, Vilaplana C, Yeboah-Manu D, Chakaya J, Ippolito G, Azhar E, Hoelscher M, Maeurer M; Host-Directed Therapies Network consortium. Host-Directed Therapies for Infectious Diseases – Current Status, Recent Progress and Future Prospects. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016. Apr;16(4):e47-63. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)00078-5

47. Ippolito G, Lanini S, Brouqui P, Di Caro A, Vairo F, Fusco FM, Krishna S, Capobianchi MR, Kyobe-Bosa H, Puro V, Wölfel R, Avsic-Zupanc T, Ioannidis JP, Portella G, Kremsner P, Dar O, Bates M, Zumla A. Non-randomised Ebola trials –lessons for optimal outbreak research. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016. 16:4: 407-408.

48. Bates M, Mudenda V, Shibemba A, Kaluwaji J, Tembo J, Kabwe M, Chimoga C, Chilukutu L,
Chilufya M, Kapata N, Hoelscher M, Maeurer M, Mwaba P, Zumla A.
Burden of tuberculosis at post mortem in inpatients at a tertiary referral centre in sub-Saharan Africa: a prospective descriptive autopsy study. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2015;15(5):544-51

49. Zumla A, Chakaya J, Centis R, D'Ambrosio L, Mwaba P, Bates M, Kapata N, Nyirenda T, Chanda D, Mfinanga S, Hoelscher M, Maeurer M, Migliori GB. Tuberculosis treatment and
management--an update on treatment regimens, trials, new drugs, and adjunct therapies.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 2015;3(3):220-34.

50. Lanini S, Zumla A, Ioannidis JP, Di Caro A, Krishna S, Gostin L, Girardi E, Pletschette M, Strada G, Baritussio A, Portella G, Apolone G, Cavuto S, Satolli R, Kremsner P, Vairo F, Ippolito G. Are adaptive randomised trials or non-randomised studies the best way to address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa? The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2015;15(6):738-45.

51. Zumla A, Chakaya J, Hoelscher M, Ntoumi F, Rustomjee R, Vilaplana C, Yeboah-Manu D, Rasolof V, Munderi P, Singh N, Aklillu E, Padayatchi N, Macete E, Kapata N, Mulenga M, Kibiki G, Mfinanga S, Nyirenda T, Maboko L, Garcia-Basteiro A, Rakotosamimanana N, Bates M, Mwaba P, Reither K, Gagneux S, Edwards S, Mfinanga E, Abdulla S, Cardona PJ, Russell JB, Gant V, Noursadeghi M, Elkington P, Bonnet M, Menendez C, Dieye TN, Diarra B, Maiga A, Aseffa A, Parida S, Wejse C, Petersen E, Kaleebu P, Oliver M, Craig G, Corrah T, Tientcheu L, Antonio M, Rao M, McHugh TD, Sheikh A, Ippolito G, Ramjee G, Kaufmann SH, Churchyard G, Steyn A, Grobusch M, Sanne I, Martinson N, Madansein R, Wilkinson RJ, Mayosi B, Schito M, Wallis RS, Maeurer M. Towards host-directed therapies for tuberculosis. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 2015; 14(8):511-2.

52. Drosten C, Meyer B, Muller MA, Corman VM, Al-Masri M, Hossain R, Madani H, Sieberg A, Bosch BJ, Lattwein E, Alhakeem RF, Assiri AM, Hajomar W, Albarrak AM, Al-Tawfiq JA, Zumla AI, Memish ZA. Transmission of MERS-coronavirus in household contacts.
New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371(9):828-35.

53. Mfinanga SG, Kirenga BJ, Chanda DM, Mutayoba B, Mthiyane T, Yimer G, Ezechi O, Connolly C, Kapotwe V, Muwonge C, Massaga J, Sinkala E, Kohi W, Lyantumba L, Nyakoojo G, Luwaga H, Doulla B, Mzyece J, Kapata N, Vahedi M, Mwaba P, Egwaga S, Adatu F, Pym A, Joloba M, Rustomjee R, Zumla A, Onyebujoh P. Early versus delayed initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive adults with newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis (TB-HAART): a prospective, international, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2014.14(7):563-71

54. Assiri A, McGeer A, Perl TM, Price CS, Al Rabeeah AA, Cummings DA, Alabdullatif ZN, Assad M, Almulhim Makhdoom H, Madani H, Alhakeem R, Al-Tawfiq JA, Cotten M, Watson SJ, Kellam P, Zumla A, Memish ZA. Hospital outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369(5):407-16.

TEXTBOOKS PUBLISHED (Selected 4 out of 21)
1. BOOK TITLE: PERSPECTIVES IN MEDICINE: TUBERCULOSIS (2015). Kaufmann SH, Rubin E, and Zumla A. (Editors) 36 chapters, 120 authors. Publisher: Cold Spring Harbour, USA Reviewed in LID:

2. BOOK TITLE: TUBERCULOSIS –A COMPREHENSIVE CLINICAL REFERENCE (2010).Zumla A and Schaaf S (Editors): (104 chapters and 156 global authors).Publishers: Saunders Elsevier Publishing Group, London. (ISBN 978-1-4160-3988-4). Excellent reviews in The Lancet, European Respiratory Journal, Transaction of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and JAMA). Foreword by Reverend Desmond Tutu who had TB as a child.

3. BOOK TITLE: MANSON'S TROPICAL DISEASES - 22ND EDITION (2009) Hardback edition Cook GC and Zumla A. (Editors): Publishers: Saunders Elsevier Publishing Group, London, (89 chapters and 122 authors). ISBN 978-1-4160-4470-3.Hardback version. ISBN 978-1-4160-4471-0 Online access available. Excellent book reviews. Review in the Lancet by a reviewer from the World Organization called it a ‘magnificent global classic’.

4. BOOK TITLE: GRANULOMATOUS DISORDERS 616 pages (89 International authors with 37 chapters), James DG and Zumla A. Editors: (1999)Publishers: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. (1999). ISBN-13: 978-0521592215 Excellent book reviews in the New England Journal of Medicine JAMA, Sarcoidosis, PGMJ. Recommended as a standard reference pathology textbook the Royal College of Pathologists