Thursday, April 15, 2021

June Dalzeil Hart

This is June Almeida, born 5th October 1930.

You probably haven’t heard anything about her, her name will not be familiar to you.

She was born June Dalzeil (pronounced De ell) Hart, in Glasgow where her Dad used to drive the old red corporation buses.

As most women did in those days, she left school at 16 and began work as a lowly lab technician at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. She was a very bright student and progressed quickly, taking her promotion and moving down south to work at St Barts in London.  While working in London she met her husband Enrique, an artist from Venezuela and together they decided the UK was not for them and emigrated to Canada.  Not long after that she   started work at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, completing her PhD in science.

She returned to London around 1962 and started working at St Thomas’s hospital where she was developing a truly innovative method of diagnostics using an electron microscope (the IEM). June was the first one to ‘see’ rubella, the virus that causes German Measles.  Latterly, her work became of extreme importance in the research of both hepatitis and HIV.

She also was the first person to see and identify a new virus that slipped under the radar before, and in 1967 she published a research paper on this virus. The virus had a halo, which she thought was rather like the ring of light around the sun.  So she thought of the halo, and the golden sun and the Latin for the word crown.

She called it the corona virus,

Why don’t we know her better? Why doesn’t everybody know her name?

Although with the average intellect of the social media conspirators, she’d probably be vilified for creating the corona virus in the first place.

I’m glad to say that June lived a very long and happy life; she restored antiques and did a bit of yoga teaching in her spare time in her retirement.

The new covid 19 testing lab at St Thomas’s is named after her.

I’d love to take her out for a coffee and talk about bus routes, the bats, the pangolins and some poor woman called Astrid Zeneca



  1. Amazing how many people - especially women - there are that we don't know about who made significant contributions to mankind. On the other hand, we all know the names of generals, many of whom did little more than getting a lot of soldiers killed unnecessarily.

  2. I think her name is becoming very well known now, for the obvious and tragic reason.

  3. Another woman who made such a major contribution to all, and of whom most haven't heard. Thanks for bringing her to my notice