Marc Van Ranst (born 20 June 1965) is a Belgian public health doctor and Professor of Virology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) and the Rega Institute for Medical Research. On 1 May 2007, he was appointed as Interministerial comissionar by the Belgian federal government to prepare Belgium for an influenza pandemic.

Marc Van Ranst
Born (1965-06-20) 20 June 1965 (age 58)
Bornem, Belgium
Alma materKU Leuven
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Scientific career
InstitutionsKU Leuven

Education edit

Van Ranst obtained a BA in medicine at Hasselt University (then L.U.C.) in 1986 and later graduated as a medical doctor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1990. From 1990 to 1993, he worked at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and received his PhD degree in virology in 1994.[1] He also specialized in laboratory medicine for which he obtained a PhD from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1998.[citation needed]

Career edit

Academic career edit

He started working at the University Hospitals Leuven in 1999 and became Professor of Virology at the K.U. Leuven.[1] Currently, he is associate chief of the department of laboratory medicine, and heads the diagnostic virology laboratory at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. He is also the director of the AIDS reference laboratory and of the national coronavirus and rotavirus reference laboratories. Professor Van Ranst was appointed in 1999 to the Belgian high council for public health, where he heads the vaccination department.[1] Since 2012, he is the Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the KU Leuven. In his research laboratory, six PhD students and four MSc students are currently[when?] working on studies on the molecular evolution of DNA and RNA viruses.[1]

Teaching edit

Professor Van Ranst teaches virology and computational genomics at the Faculty of Medicine at the KU Leuven.[2] Since 1995, he holds an affiliate academic position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague, where he teaches Bioinformatics.[1]

Science communication edit

He published over 270 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals[1] and contributed eight chapters to books on molecular evolution and bioinformatics.

Marc Van Ranst is the chairman of the editorial board of,[3] a social media platform that provides information on vaccines.

Awards edit

Lead in Belgian influenza crisis management edit

Van Ranst has been responsible for influenza pandemic preparedness planning since 2007 onwards.[1] In 2009-10 he was an interministerial commissary for crisis management during the Mexican flu pandemic[1] In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Van Ranst became a member both of the Belgian 'Risk Assessment Group' (RAG), which analyses the risks of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 for public health, and of the 'Scientific committee Coronavirus' which advises Belgian health authorities on combatting the virus and which makes prognoses on its evolution and spread in Belgium.[6]

Social media edit

Van Ranst is very active on social media, particularly Twitter, where he addresses both professional and societal issues.[7] In August 2014, he was the first person who used the term Gazacaust that created heavy reactions in the Jewish community in Belgium and abroad.[8][9]

Van Ranst is also a target of social media campaigns by right-wing Flemish nationalists in Belgium. In 2018 former migration minister Theo Francken nick-named Van Ranst as Doctor Hatred.[10] In May 2021, a far-right extremist, identified as soldier Jürgen Conings, threatened Van Ranst. The suspect was heavily armed and considered as a serious threat. Four rocket launchers were found in his car. Authorities launched a manhunt in Dilsen-Stokkem, Limburg, Belgium.[11] Van Ranst and his family had to be moved to a safe house until Conings was found dead on 20 June.[12]

Works edit

  • Van Ranst, M. (2004). "Chandipura virus: an emerging human pathogen?". The Lancet. 364 (9437): 821–2. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16995-X. PMC 7134742. PMID 15351172.; 2004 September 4–10

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "MARC VAN RANST". Amsterdam 3–5 December 2020 12th Conference. EiP Excellence in Pediatrics Institute. 2020. Archived from the original on 29 June 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  2. ^ Clinical and Epidemiological Virology. "Clinical Virology". KU Leuven. Retrieved 19 October 2020. COURSE MATERIAL (PROF. VAN RANST)
  3. ^ "Facts about vaccination and immunization". Archived from the original on 27 March 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Heine-Medin Award – European Society for Clinical Virology". Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Twee Nederlandse eredoctoraten voor Belgische viroloog Marc Van Ranst". (in Dutch). 12 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  6. ^ "Wat doet de overheid? | Coronavirus COVID-19". Archived from the original on 15 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  7. ^ "@vanranstmarc". Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Van Ranst botst met Joods Actueel: "Laat mijn grootouders hierbuiten!"". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Philosémitisme: L'obsession anti-Israël du médecin flamand Marc van Ranst". 7 August 2014. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Twitteroorlog tussen Theo Francken en Marc Van Ranst escaleert: "Hij vervalst Facebook-posts" versus "Hij trekt mijn integriteit in twijfel"". Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Belgian manhunt for heavily armed far-right soldier". BBC. 19 May 2021.
  12. ^ Brussels Times

Sources edit

External links edit