Bert Achong

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Bert Geoffrey Achong
Born (1928-12-06) 6 December 1928 (age 88)
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Died 20 November 1996
Hampstead, England
Nationality Trinidad
Occupation Scientist
Known for Epstein–Barr virus

Bert Geoffrey Achong (6 December 1928 - 20 November 1996) was a Trinidadian pathologist.[1]

He is best known for co-discovering the Epstein-Barr virus through use of electron microscopy.


Achong was born in Trinidad of Chinese descent. After excelling in school in Trinidad, he was awarded the Jerningham Gold Medal and the Colonial Scholarship to study in Europe.[2] He enrolled at University College Dublin, where he received his medical degree in 1953.[2] In 1955 he moved to London, and worked at Lambeth Hospital in London in Clinical Pathology. In 1963, he joined Michael Anthony Epstein's research group at Middlesex Hospital. He moved with Epstein to the Department of Pathology at University of Bristol in 1968, where he was a popular lecturer on cellular pathology until his retirement in 1985.[3] He died of a brain tumour in 1996.

Epstein-Barr virus[edit]

Achong, Michael Anthony Epstein and Yvonne Barr discovered the first example of a human cancer-causing virus.[4] They published the discovery of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in The Lancet on March 28, 1984.

Achong's role in the discovery of EBV was to prepare and examine cultured cells prepared from Burkitt's lymphoma samples by electron microscopy.[5][6]

Foamy virus[edit]

In 1971 Achong made another major discovery, the human foamy virus. This was proved to be the first example of a retrovirus naturally infecting humans.[2]


  1. ^ "Our Chinese contribution to science". The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  2. ^ a b c Group, British Medical Journal Publishing (1997-01-11). "Bert Geoffrey AchongLawrence ("Laurie") Gordon BrockGervais Joly DixonRonald Vincent HarrisHenry Vernon JonesAnne Carmel Marley (née O'Hanlon)William Gordon MillarGavin William MilroyJean Pasmore (née Calman)Bernard Butts ReissKshitindra Nath SenguptaAndrew Charles Sheldon". BMJ. 314 (7074): 150. doi:10.1136/bmj.314.7074.150. ISSN 0959-8138. 
  3. ^ Crawford, Dorothy H.; Rickinson, Alan; Johannessen, Ingólfur (2014-02-01). Cancer Virus: The Story of Epstein-Barr Virus. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199653119. 
  4. ^ Epstein, Anthony (2012-03-01). "Burkitt lymphoma and the discovery of Epstein–Barr virus". British Journal of Haematology. 156 (6): 777–779. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.09008.x. ISSN 1365-2141. 
  5. ^ Epstein, M.A; Achong, B.G; Barr, Y.M (1964). "Virus Particles in Cultured Lymphoblasts from Burkitt's Lymphoma". The Lancet. 283 (7335): 702–3. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(64)91524-7. PMID 14107961. 
  6. ^ Epstein, M. A.; Henle, G; Achong, BG; Barr, YM (1965). "Morphological and Biological Studies on a Virus in Cultured Lymphoblasts from Burkitt's Lymphoma". Journal of Experimental Medicine. 121 (5): 761–70. doi:10.1084/jem.121.5.761. PMC 2138004Freely accessible. PMID 14278230. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bastien, Elliot: World Class Trinidad & Tobago Profiles of Performance 2006