Shaun Wen Huey Lee

International Scholar

  •  Associate Professor | Monash University School of Pharmacy
  •  Vietnam | Malaysia
  •   Quality Use of Medicine | Tuberculosis

Languages: English

Bio statement

Shaun Lee is a pharmacist by profession and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at Monash University Malaysia. His research is highly interdisciplinary and uses methods from the social sciences, public health, clinical medicine, and epidemiology.  His current research focuses on population health, in relation to how public interventions can have an impact on health inequalities with particular focus on non-communicable diseases; pharmacoepidemiology, and in particular on how to optimize medication and reducing inappropriate polypharmacy in vulnerable populations, such as in older adults, or those with a life-limiting illness. 

Recent global health projects

Tuberculosis is one of the major leading causes of mortality, with ∼1.3 million deaths attributed to it in 2017. In order to achieve the targets of alleviating global social–economic and disease burden due to tuberculosis by 2035, the pragmatic intervention has been implemented in the prevention and treatment of the disease. With almost one in every three of the world's population harboring TB in its dormant form (LTBI), they are at risk of developing TB in the future, with a 5–10% lifetime risk of reactivation. The risk is considerably greater in infected individuals who belong to specific high-risk populations as well as those with predisposing factors such as HIV or those with diabetes mellitus. My research focuses on understanding the epidemiology of people with LTBI and how it affects their health given that this is a latent infection. Through a better understanding of this, it is projected that we will be able to develop better interventions in the future towards achieving the End TB targets.

Genital herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections worldwide. It is characterized by the recurrent, but the self-limiting outbreak of painful genital lesions in a proportion of those infected. Symptoms include vesicles, ulcers, fissures, or painful lesions on or near the genital skin mucosa, which is often collectively termed genital ulcer disease (GUD). Both herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) are thought to be the main causative organisms, with the former contributing to 70 to 80 percent of all cases of genital herpes. A recent estimate suggests that 5% of the world’s population had at least one episode of HSV-related GUD in 2016, which disproportionately affects mostly women. While most HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections are subclinical, they can cause infrequent but serious diseases such as blindness, encephalitis, and neonatal infections. Indeed, infection with HSV-2 can double the risk for sexually acquired HIV infection as it provides a port of entry for HIV, and accelerate HIV progression. This large burden is a public health concern, as GUD affects the lives of those it affects, as a result of the physical pain and discomfort as well as psychologically. Despite the widespread and increasing HSV-related GUD transmission worldwide, there is still a poor understanding of the economic impact of GH. My current research focuses on estimating the economic burden of GH worldwide.

Selected publications

Abbafati, C., Abbas, K.M., Abbasi-Kangevari, M., .. Lee SWH... et al., 2020. Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258).