Muyembe-Tamfum obtained his PhD in 1973 from the University of Leuven in Belgium. Shortly after, he was part of the team that encountered the first outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in Congo in 1976. Since the first outbreak, Muyembe-Tamfum has worked tirelessly towards managing other subsequent outbreaks in the country. He has received a patent for pioneering the first treatment for Ebola which uses convalescent serum that contains neutralizing antibodies.
Muyembe-Tamfum has also received multiple international awards for his work including the 2015 Royal Society Africa Prize, the prestigious Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize 2019 from Japanese Emperor Naruhito (valued at almost $1 million, the 2015 lifetime achievement award, and was featured in Time’s 100 influential people of 2020. He has held several positions, most notably heading WHO committees that work on Ebola. Muyembe-Tamfum currently serves as the Director-General of the National Institute for Biomedical Research and is also Professor of Microbiology at Kinshasa University Medical School in the Congo.