A Letter from the GVN Scientific Director and Chair, Scientific Leadership Board
The concept of a Global Virus Network (GVN) began back in the 1980’s when a small group of medical virologists realized that virtually no working virologists had a global directive for researching the cause of AIDS during the earliest years of the epidemic. Conversely, important groups such as the World Health Organization which did have a global mandate for combatting the new disease had virtually no resident expertise in the kind of virus that was subsequently shown to be the cause of AIDS, namely, a retrovirus. Examining the history of other great epidemics of the 20th century, Influenza and Polio, reveals similar disconnects between available expertise and the urgent public need to identify causation and prevention modes.
GVN Centers, with strong working relationships among them, are poised to engage in any outbreak situation by providing the world’s only network of top basic medical virologists from around the globe covering all classes of human viral threats. GVN is also committed to training the next generation of medical virologists in order to meet the critical need posed by the graying of members of our own discipline, and to inform and educate policymakers and members of the public about the role of medical virologists in mitigating viral illness and preventing infections from taking hold in populations. This is especially important as my colleagues and I have noticed a significant decline in medical students entering the field of medical virology.
-Robert C. Gallo, MD