Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence TSRI Investigation Reveals First-Ever Image of Elusive Viral Protein

Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence TSRI Investigation Reveals First-Ever Image of Elusive Viral Protein

 New Direction for Lifesaving Vaccine

LA JOLLA, CA – June 2, 2017 – Before Ebola virus ever struck West Africa, locals were already on the lookout for a deadly pathogen: Lassa virus. With thousands dying from Lassa every year—and the potential for the virus to cause even larger outbreaks—researchers are committed to designing a vaccine to stop it.

Now a team led by Staff Scientist Kathryn Hastie and Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved the structure of the viral machinery that Lassa virus uses to enter human cells. Their study, published June 2, 2017 in the journal Science, is the first to show a key piece of the viral structure, called the surface glycoprotein, for any member of the deadly arenavirus family.
Importantly, the new structure provides a guide for designing a Lassa virus vaccine.

“Studying Lassa is critically important. Hundreds of thousands of people are infected with the virus every year, and it is the viral hemorrhagic fever that most frequently comes to the United States and Europe,” said Ollmann Saphire, senior author of the new study and co-director of the TSRI Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence. “This structure gives you the blueprints to make a vaccine that would deliver antibody protection.”

Like Ebola virus, Lassa fever starts with flu-like symptoms and can lead to debilitating vomiting, neurological problems and even hemorrhaging from the eyes, gums and nose. The disease is 50 to 70 percent fatal—and up to 90 percent fatal in pregnant women.

Success in Solving the Structure

The researchers solved this structure of the Lassa virus glycoprotein using a technique called x-ray crystallography, in which researchers prompt protein molecules from a virus to align and form a crystal. When x-rays hit the electrons in the crystal, they create a diffraction pattern that reveals the organization of the crystal and the molecular structure of the protein that formed it.

The researchers quickly found that Lassa virus posed a challenge for x-ray crystallography. The technique depends on having a stable protein, yet all the Lassa virus glycoprotein wanted to do was fall apart.
The problem was that glycoproteins are made up of smaller subunits. Other viruses have bonds that hold the subunits together, “like a staple,” Hastie said. Arenaviruses don’t have that staple; instead, the subunits float away from each other. Another challenge was to recreate part of the viral lifecycle in the lab—a stage when Lassa’s glycoprotein gets clipped into two subunits. “We had to figure out how to get the subunits to be sufficiently clipped and where to put the staple to make sure they stayed together,” Hastie said.

To overcome these obstacles, Hastie created mutant versions of important parts of the molecule and engineered a version of the Lassa virus surface glycoprotein that didn’t fall apart. She then used this model glycoprotein as a sort of magnet to find antibodies in patient samples that could bind with the glycoprotein to neutralize the virus.The molecular structure of the Lassa virus glycoprotein trimer provides the blueprints for vaccine design.

The molecular structure of the Lassa virus glycoprotein trimer provides the blueprints for vaccine design.
Image credit Christina Corbaci TSRI

At last, she solved the structure of the Lassa virus glycoprotein, bound to a neutralizing antibody from a human survivor.

Hastie’s structure showed that the glycoprotein has two parts. She compared the shape to an ice cream cone and a scoop of ice cream. A subunit called GP2 forms the cone, and the GP1 subunit sits on top. They work together when they encounter a host cell. GP1 binds to a host cell receptor, and GP2 starts the fusion process to enter that cell.

The new structure also showed a long structure hanging off the side of GP1—like a drip of melting ice cream running down the cone. This “drip” holds the two subunits together in their pre-fusion state.

Zooming in even closer, Hastie discovered that three of the GP1-GP2 pairs come together like a tripod. This arrangement appears to be unique to Lassa virus. Other viruses, such as influenza and HIV, also have three-part proteins (called trimers) at this site, but their subunits come together to form a pole, not a tripod.

“It was great to see exactly how Lassa was different from other viruses,” said Hastie, 10 years after starting the project. “It was a tremendous relief to finally have the structure.”

This tripod arrangement offers a path for vaccine design. The scientists found that 90 percent of the effective antibodies in Lassa patients targeted the spot where the three GP subunits came together. These antibodies locked the subunits together, preventing the virus from gearing up to enter a host cell.

A future vaccine would likely have the greatest chance of success if it could trigger the body to produce antibodies to target the same site.

 

Antibody from a human survivor (turquoise) is shown inactivating the Lassa virus surface protein. The work shows how to engineer vaccine strategies to elicit protective immune responses. Image credit Christina Corbaci TSRI

Moving Forward with a Lassa Vaccine

The next step is to test a vaccine that will prompt the immune system to target Lassa’s glycoprotein. As director of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium, Ollmann Saphire is already coordinating with her partners at Tulane and Kenema to bring a vaccine to patients.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an international collaboration that includes the Wellcome Trust and the World Health Organization as partners has recently named a vaccine for Lassa virus as one of its three top priorities. “The community is keenly interested in making a Lassa vaccine, and we think we have the best template to do that,” said Ollmann Saphire.

She added that with Hastie’s techniques for solving arenavirus structures, researchers can now get a closer look at other hemorrhagic fever viruses, which cause death, neurological diseases and even birth defects around the world.

In addition to Ollmann Saphire and Hastie, authors of the study, “Structural basis for antibody-mediated neutralization of Lassa virus,” were Michelle A. Zandonatti of TSRI; James E. Robinson and Robert F. Garry of Tulane University and Director of Tulane’s GVN Center of Excellence; Lara M. Kleinfelter and Kartik Chandran of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Megan L. Heinrich, Megan M. Rowland and Luis M. Branco of Zalgen Labs.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants 1U19AI109762-01, R21 AI116112 and contract HHSC272200900049C) and an Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

TSRI and Tulane University are Centers of Excellence in the Global Virus Network (GVN), which represents 38 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 24 countries and comprises foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans.   The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind.  It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training through scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology.  The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

Pioneers in Infectious Agents and Cancer Meeting in Naples March 22-23, 2017

The Institute Naz. – Tumori Fondazione Pascale, in partnership with GVN and the online journal Infectious Agents and Cancer, hosted the “Pioneers in Infectious Agents and Cancer Meeting” in Naples March 22-23, 2017  to honor GVN’s Co-Founder & Scientific Director, Robert Gallo, MD, in celebration of his 80th Birthday.

https://sites.google.com/site/infectagentscancer1/iac/pioneers-in-infectious-agents-and-cancer

Global Virus Network (GVN) Announces Seven Distinguished International Appointments to Board of Directors

Global Virus Network (GVN) Announces Seven Distinguished  International Appointments to Board of Directors

World leaders in business & science are committed to supporting the GVN

Baltimore, MD (March 22, 2017) – The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, today announced the addition of seven distinguished global leaders to its Board of Directors, including Lawrence Blatt, PhD, Global Head of Infectious Diseases, Jansen Pharmaceuticals and President and CEO, Alios Biopharma; Peter Palese, PhD, Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair Department of Microbiology, Professor, Department of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Pierluigi Petrone, CEO, Petrone Group; Guangqi Tian, President, Sino Invest Group Limited; Guy Vernet, PhD, Scientific Director, Fondation Mérieux; Danny Wong, Founder and Chairman, Medisun and Chairman, Beijing Financial Group Limited; and, Koichi Yamanishi, MD, Director General, Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (Biken). The announcement was made today by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-founder and Director, Global Virus Network (GVN) and Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.

“GVN will benefit greatly with each new Board members’ expertise and tremendous success in leading prosperous organizations and ventures around the globe,” said Robert Gallo, MD, who is world renowned for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS and development of the HIV blood test. “We look forward to working with our new and current board members as we expand GVN’s collaborations with government entities, the public and private sectors, and most recently with the pharmaceutical industry to advance biomedical research and train the next generation of medical virologists while addressing the world’s most pressing viral threats, such as Zika, Ebola, influenza, and HIV to name a few.”

“I am pleased and honored to be joining the GVN Board, whose mission to address global public health threats relating to established and emerging viruses, is well aligned to my personal goals and aspirations,” said Lawrence Blatt, PhD, Global Head of Infectious Diseases, Jansen Pharmaceuticals and President and CEO, Alios Biopharma both in San Francisco, CA, USA.  “Viral infections account for significant morbidity and mortality throughout the world and the GVN is establishing a worldwide community to facilitate cooperation among physicians, scientists and healthcare workers.” Dr. Blatt has spent the last 30 years working in drug research and development with a specific focus on biology of the immune system, antiviral therapies and relevant therapeutic interventions including among other discoveries the development of Danoprevir®, an HCV protease inhibitor, in partnership with Roche.

“The question regarding novel emerging viral pathogens is not if – but when,” said Peter Palese, PhD, Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology, Professor, Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY, USA.  Dr. Palese’s groundbreaking research includes designing the next-generation of flu vaccines that provoke a more robust and durable immune response to a wide variety of influenza viruses – a feat that aims to produce a broadly protective universal vaccine that not only saves lives but eliminates the need for annual revaccination and associated costs.  Dr. Palese is also Director of the GVN Center of Excellence at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine (IOM).

 

“I am proud and happy to join this interesting and motivating Board of Directors,” said Pierluigi Petrone, CEO, Petrone Group, a Naples, Italy holding company of approximately 30 firms operating in the pharmaceutical and health sectors.  “I will try to liaise scientific evidences with manufacturing processes, allowing pharmaceutical companies to approach new useful products to move forward against dangerous and undiscovered infections worldwide.”  Mr. Petrone is also Chairman of STM Group Logistica Integrata and a Business Relation Officer of Pierrel S.p.A which collectively encompass the life science, biopharma and pharmaceutical industries.

“As basic biomedical and behavioral research make it possible to more accurately characterize the causes of viral disease onset and progression,  I am honored to serve the GVN with all my knowledge and energy to accelerate the process of scientific discovery and research to development and optimization of therapeutics to test in human trials, ultimately, to the application of the approved therapy, device, or diagnostic in the real world,” said Guangqi Tian, President, Sino Invest Group Limited.  Mr. Tian founded multiple companies in cities in China including Harbin, Tianjin, and Beijing since 2005 and owns businesses in Beijing, Tianjin, Hong Kong, U.S., Panama, and Dubai which include international trade and investment.

“I am convinced that it is only by gathering experts and leaders from different disciplines, from the public and private sectors, in networks like the GVN that we will defeat deadly viral diseases,” said Guy Vernet, PhD, Fondation Mérieux, USA.  “Laboratories and diagnostics are key components of public health response to epidemic infectious diseases, especially in resource-limited, tropical countries and I am honored to have a chance to contribute, with my experience in this domain, to the objectives of the GVN.” Dr. Vernet has been Director General of the Pasteur Institute in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Scientific Director of Fondation Mérieux in Lyon, France. He previously held several positions within the R&D Department of bioMérieux, and led many research projects with the goal to improve the diagnosis of major human pathologies, particularly HIV infection, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

“Today’s rapid spread of viral diseases in the world endangers human health, and it is critical to pull together all the resources we have to reduce and eliminate the threat by conducting more cutting edge R&D and translational medicine,” said Danny Wong, Founder and Chairman, Medisun and Chairman, Beijing Financial Group Limited.  “I am thrilled to join the GVN alongside others to tackle this issue.”  Mr. Wong has over 20 years of experience in investment including successfully launching dozens of high-tech companies in Hong Kong and founding the first venture capital company in China.

“I am pleased to join the GVN Board of Directors and advance the mission of the GVN in its efforts to combat viral threats,” said Koichi Yamanishi, MD, Director General, Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (Biken) in Osaka, Japan. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in Japan and Asia to expand collaborative efforts established during GVN’s annual meeting held in Sapporo last fall.”  Dr. Yamanishi’s laboratory studies includes novel advances in both human herpes virus (HHV) research, especially HHV-6, and varicella zoster virus.

 

While new Board members will advise the GVN on many issues, they will also lead efforts in their areas of expertise.  Dr. Lawrence Blatt will garner business, financial and scientific support for viral therapies; Dr. Peter Palese will garner business, financial and scientific support in influenza initiatives, in addition to his responsibilities as a GVN Center of Excellence Director; Mr. Pierluigi Petrone will garner business and financial support from manufacturers globally; Mr. Guangqi Tian will garner business, financial and scientific support in China; Dr. Guy Vernet will garner business, financial and scientific support for diagnosis of viral diseases globally and especially resource-limited countries; Mr. Danny Wong will garner business, financial and scientific support in Asia; and, Dr. Koichi Yamanishi will cultivate business, financial and scientific relationships in Japan and Asia.

Gilead Sciences Awards $148K to the Global Virus Network (GVN) to Combat Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Remote Regions of India

Gilead Sciences Awards $148K to the Global Virus Network (GVN) to Combat Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Remote Regions of India

The pilot study will build specific training models to test, link and treat specialized HCV patient populations in high prevalence regions of India

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 1, 2017: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 38 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 25 countries and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, was awarded $148,000 by Gilead Sciences, Inc. to develop and implement a sustainable program for testing, treating and linking to care hard to reach patient populations in India. The announcement was made today by Robert C. Gallo, MD, Co-Founder, Scientific Director, GVN, The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Shyamasundaran Kottilil, MBBS, PhD, who will lead this study and is Professor of Medicine, Co-Director, Clinical Research Unit, Associate Director for Clinical Research, IHV.

“We are grateful to Gilead for their continued leadership in, among other efforts, making medication and affordable healthcare a priority around the world, and in this particular case with escalation of novel hepatitis C virus treatment in India,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, who is renowned for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS and development of the HIV blood test. “Dr. Kottilil is a leader in the field who can take on challenging variables and successfully bring effective, sustainable healthcare and treatment models to low resource communities around the globe.”

The proposed study utilizes a model of building local capacity through high-level clinical mentoring to 80 physicians who are then responsible for mentoring more than 500 healthcare workers throughout the country to significantly decrease HCV prevalence. The project focuses on building specific training for specialized populations including patients with injection drug use and community clinic patients as well as considerations in varying settings such as urban versus rural.

“The purpose of this program is to develop an HCV training model for medical providers in India that can be duplicated and applied to other areas within South Asia,” said Dr. Kottilil. “Generic medications for the treatment of hepatitis C are already available and approved to use in India.”

“We are pleased to support the Global Virus Network, an organization that shares our goal of addressing the world’s biggest health challenges,” said Gregg Alton, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Medical Affairs.  “In India, the majority of the population lives in rural areas where hepatitis screening is limited. This initiative will support education efforts that will help increase routine hepatitis C screening, which is essential to slowing and ultimately ending the epidemic in India.”

In the past couple of years, oral, interferon-free, directing agents (DAAs) have emerged resulting in an effective HCV cure.  At this time, only a few providers worldwide have experience in the management of HCV with interferon/ribavirin, and there are no infectious disease specialists in India with experience using the DAAs.

“Despite high HCV disease burden in many parts of Asia, no studies exist, to date documenting diagnostic and treatment outcomes of DAAs such as sofosbuvir in a real-world context in this region said Dr. Kottilil. “We are pleased to partner with our colleagues in India to accelerate HCV care continuum. On paper, we can rid the world of HCV but to do so, we must innovate proven, effective community driven outreach models that educate, test, treat and link to care the most vulnerable populations like those we are reaching through this grant.”

Global Virus Network Inspires New Collaborations to Combat Viral Threats During Meeting of Top Medical Researchers

Dr. Ab Osterhaus Presented with The GVN Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence and Leadership

Baltimore, MD, November 17, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, held its 8th meeting in Sapporo, Japan late last month in partnership with the Japanese Society of Virology, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) in Tokyo, Japan and the Research Center for Zoonosis Control (CZC) at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. At a time when new pandemics caused by viruses such as Zika and virulent reemerging threats such as Ebola are on the rise, top international researchers shared compelling data to inspire new collaborations and address public health crises. Viruses dominating discussions also included, among others, human papilloma virus (HPV), influenza, Lassa virus, dengue virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis viruses, chikungunya virus, and human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV).

“This year’s program included some of the most interesting and robust research data that I have seen since GVN’s inception,” said Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of the GVN and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. “I was equally impressed with the enthusiasm and creative ideas put forth by our members that will strengthen GVN’s reach both scientifically and regionally. Their commitment to advancing GVN’s mission is inspiring.” He continued, “Further, I want to extend my gratitude to our GVN colleagues Hideki Hasegawa, MD, PhD, Director of the Department of Pathology of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Hirofumi Sawa, MD, PhD, Deputy Director and Professor of Molecular Pathobiology at the Research Center for Zoonosis Control (CZC) at Hokkaido University for their gracious hospitality and for co-hosting a profoundly productive meeting.”

“We were pleased that the Japanese Society of Virology partnered with the GVN to host this year’s meeting in Sapporo,” said Drs. Hasegawa and Sawa. “We heard from many Japanese researchers who benefited from the exposure to GVN’s elite virus researchers, and we hope that those contacts facilitated through this meeting are utilized as Japanese virologists advance their own laboratory research.”

During the meeting, the GVN presented Ab Osterhaus, DVM, PhD, Director of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Hannover, Germany, a GVN Center of Excellence, with The GVN Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence and Leadership for his pioneering contributions in influenza and coronavirus research as well as his contributions to advancing the GVN mission.

“Dr. Osterhaus is most deserving of this honor with his decades long career including, among many other important contributions, discovering more than 50 new viruses in humans and animals and helping the World Health Organization to effectively combat outbreaks including SARS and pandemic influenza,” said William Hall, MD, PhD, Co-founder of the GVN and Professor of Microbiology at the University College Dublin, a GVN Center of Excellence in Dublin, Ireland. “Dr. Osterhaus has also been a leader in the GVN by actively participating in our international meetings and short course programs, and providing ongoing scientific analyses and updates on viral threats.”

Dr. Gallo continued, “I respect Dr. Osterhaus for his important basic science contributions in medical virology and his ability to translate those contributions into broad public health initiatives. He is a true leader and the GVN values both his intellect and his friendship.”

In addition to honoring Dr. Osterhaus, GVN Centers of Excellence reviewed strategies propelling the GVN forward, including engaging new scientific communities, the launch of a new GVN Task Force, and the exchange of ideas on training programs that address new and existing viral threats.

“Since many GVN Centers of Excellence are working with animal pathogens, I believe the GVN will benefit from increased partnerships with veterinary research institutes working on epizootic animal diseases,” said Joaquim Segalés, DVM, PhD, Director of the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA-IRTA) located at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Barcelona, Spain. “I will help lead the GVN in cultivating these important collaborations with organizations that can provide a number of new possibilities in better preventing future animal to man outbreaks.”

The GVN Zika Task Force Chair Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, who is also Director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and Scientific Director of the Galveston National Laboratory, a GVN Center of Excellence in Galveston, Texas, USA, introduced GVN members to the Task Force’s latest Zika serum bank initiative. The Task Force, comprising 28 top Zika experts from around the world, serves as a catalyst for driving communication and information flow between fellow GVN colleagues researching and responding to the Zika epidemic gripping the world.

“As many of you know, a major obstacle to understanding and controlling the Zika epidemic is affordable, accurate diagnostics,” said Dr. Weaver. “The Zika serum bank will help alleviate this obstacle. We hope to assemble a collection of at least 25 sera, each in quantities to supply 25 or more investigators, and we will ensure that these precious samples are made available to the worthiest requestors worldwide,” said Dr. Weaver.

Peter Palese, PhD, Chair of the Department of Microbiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a GVN Center of Excellence in New York, New York, USA, facilitated discussions on fostering international partnerships among GVN members to address the worldwide problem of influenza. “My colleagues and I are working to design the next-generation of flu vaccines that provoke a more robust and durable immune response to a wide variety of influenza viruses,” said Dr. Palese. “I believe we can achieve this feat. A broadly protective universal vaccine will not only save lives, but it will eliminate the need for annual revaccination while saving enormous amounts of money in associated costs.”

Sharon Lewin, FRACP, PhD, Director of the GVN Center of Excellence, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity at The University of Melbourne & Royal Melbourne Hospital, announced that GVN’s 9th international meeting will be held next year in Melbourne, Australia. “Australia is looking forward to welcoming GVN members to Australia in the Fall of 2017,” said Dr. Lewin. “We will boost GVN’s annual meeting program and design next year’s agenda to include a day dedicated to the next generation of medical virologists. It is incumbent upon us, the members of the GVN, to look for new ways to mentor rising medical virologists so that the world is better prepared against viral threats in the years to come.”

Global Virus Network Adds Tulane University School of Medicine as Newest Center of Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and Atlanta, GA, USA, Oct. 19, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN) and Tulane University School of Medicine announced today the induction of Tulane as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence. The GVN represents 38 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 25 countries and comprises foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans.

The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, co-founder and scientific director of GVN and Robert Garry, PhD, professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, assistant dean, Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, program manager, Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, Tulane University School of Medicine. Garry will be director of Tulane’s GVN Center of Excellence.

The new Tulane GVN Center of Excellence focuses on a number of aspects of viral pathogenesis. Tulane also leads the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium (VHFC), a public-private partnership of scientists who are developing countermeasures, including diagnostics, immunotherapeutics and vaccines, against Lassa virus, Ebola and Marburg viruses, flaviviruses (including Zika virus) and several other high consequence pathogens.

“Given their breadth and deep expertise in viruses, particularly hemorrhagic viruses, Tulane will be an excellent resource for the GVN,” said Gallo, who is co-discoverer of HIV and The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Bob Garry’s ability to establish successful public-private partnerships, such as the VHFC, to help bring lab research to the clinic, particularly in the field of diagnostics, will be a tremendous boost to the GVN.”

“We look forward to joining the GVN so that we can better foster infrastructure development, research, training and education on detection, prevention, amelioration, and treatment of viral hemorrhagic fever viruses targeting both the scientific and general communities,” says Garry. “We have a significant presence in West Africa and are pleased to extend our global reach through the GVN.”

The VHFC is a collaboration between Tulane, Scripps Research Institute (a GVN Center of Excellence), Harvard University/Broad Institute, University of Texas Medical Branch (a GVN Center of Excellence), Autoimmune Technologies LLC, Kenema Government Hospital (Sierra Leone), Redeemers University and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (Nigeria), Zalgen Labs, LLC, and various other partners in West Africa.

The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training, developing scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from 25 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

About Tulane University School of Medicine

One of the nation’s most recognized centers for medical education, Tulane University School of Medicine is a vibrant center for education, research and public service. Tulane School of Medicine is the second-oldest medical school in the Deep South and the 15th oldest medical school in the United States. Tulane School of Medicine recruits top faculty, researchers and students from around the world, and pushes the boundaries of medicine with groundbreaking medical research and surgical advances. Tulane remains in the forefront of modern medical innovation and is equipping the next generation of medical professionals with the tools to succeed in the rapidly changing future of health care.

Global Virus Network and the Japanese Society for Virology (JSV) Host Meeting of Top Virologists From Around the World

Virus Researchers Descend Upon Sapporo to Address Rising Global Viral Threats
Sapporo, Japan, October 18, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, will hold its 8thmeeting in Sapporo, Japan October 23—25, 2016 in partnership with the Japanese Society for Virology (JSV), the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) of Japan and the Research Center for Zoonosis Control (CZC) at Hokkaido University. The announcement was made today by Robert Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and Scientific Director, Hideki Hasegawa, MD, PhD, Director of the Department of Pathology of NIID and Hirofumi Sawa, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of CZC and Professor of Molecular Pathobiology at CZC. Both CZC and NIID comprise Japan’s GVN Center of Excellence which also includes the Institute of Medical Science of the University of Tokyo and the Institute for Virus Research (IVR) at Kyoto University.
“While viruses such as Zika dominate international headlines, researchers are continuously working vigorously behind the scenes to solve not only these critical current threats but dangerous imminent threats as well,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV as the cause of AIDS and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “International meetings such as this one are an integral piece in solving these scientific challenges and forging global collaborations that might otherwise not exist.”
He continued, “I am especially pleased to co-host this year’s GVN meeting in Japan given my long-history with this great nation with my lab’s discovery in 1980 of a human retrovirus endemic in Japan and the only known human leukemia virus – HTLV. It is an important virus that will be discussed during our meeting as it can cause devastating symptoms and sometimes death.”
“Japan has proudly been a member of the GVN since its inception in 2011, and is honored to host our internationally renowned colleagues in an effort to advance global health,” said Dr. Hideki Hasegawa. “My colleagues at NIID and across Japan join me in welcoming GVN to Sapporo.”
This year’s GVN meeting includes a robust discussion with candid conversations on cutting-edge research such as Zika virus, HTLV-1, human papilloma virus (HPV), influenza, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, dengue virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, chikungunya, among other viruses, and viral diagnostics.
“The JSV meeting’s 1400 registrants look forward to having the opportunity to have full access to the GVN sessions, thereby expanding opportunities for collaborative dialogue, particularly for researchers in Japan,” said Dr. Hirofumi Sawa.
“The interaction of GVN members and highlighting its activities with the many hundreds of Japanese virologists attending their own national meeting will demonstrate the international importance of the GVN and will provide a unique opportunity to establish new research collaborations,” said William Hall, MD, PhD, GVN Co-Founder, Professor of Microbiology at the University College Dublin, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Distinguished Professor in the CZC at Hokkaido University.
The GVN is an essential and critical defense against viral disease. It is a coalition comprised of world renowned virologists, all working to advance knowledge about how viruses cause disease, to develop drugs and vaccines to prevent illness and death, and to train the next generation of virus researchers. GVN is the only institution in the world that has expertise in all classes of human viruses.
For a full program please visit http://gvn.org/sapporo_2016/. One-on-one interviews can be arranged upon request and a press conference will be held Tuesday, October 25 at 12:00 pm at the Sapporo Convention Center, Rm 101. A simultaneous interpreter will be provided during the press conference. Tweet #GVNSapporo2016 and @GlobalVirusNews.
OFFICIAL PRESS CONFERENCE
*Simultaneous Interpreter will be provided
Time: October 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm
Where:

Sapporo Convention Center, Rm 101(1-1-1 Higashi-Sapporo 6-jo, Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo, 003-0006, Japan TEL: +81-11-817-1010)

What:

“Global Virus Network and the Japanese Society for Virology (JSV) Host Meeting of TopVirologists From Around the World: Virus Researchers Descend Upon Sapporo to Address Rising
Global Viral Threats”

Who:

Hideki Hasegawa, MD, PhD, Director, Department of Pathology, National Institute of Infectious
Diseases (NIID)
Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder & Scientific Director, Global Virus Network (GVN) and Director,
Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Hiroshi Kida, DVM, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Head, Research Center for Zoonosis Control (CZC),
Hokkaido University
Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, Chair, GVN Zika Task Force and Director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and Scientific Director of the Galveston National Laboratory, a GVN Center of Excellence

CONTACTS
Hokkaido University Contact: Hirofumi Sawa, +81-11-7065185 or h-sawa@czc.hokudai.ac.jp
GVN Contact: Nora Grannell, +1 443 823 0613 or ngrannell@gvn.org

Hosts

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Global Virus Network Announces $100,000 Donation from The Allergan Foundation to Establish International Serum Bank for Zika Task Force

Serum bank provides leading repository of Zika serum samples to support coordinated, global research effort to address Zika crisis

Baltimore, Maryland, US – October 17, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 37 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 25 countries and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, today announced that the Allergan Foundation, a U.S.-based private charitable foundation endowed by Allergan plc, has donated $100,000 to the GVN Zika Task Force to help supports efforts to address the growing Zika crisis.

The Allergan Foundation donation will allow the GVN Zika Task Force to establish an international serum bank housing collected blood donations from individuals after confirmed infection with the Zika virus. The donation comes at a critical time in the fight against the growing Zika pandemic amid lack of funding sources necessary to combat the virus.
“The Allergan Foundation is proud to support GVN in its efforts to address the global health challenge society faces from the Zika virus,” said Gwyn Grenrock, Executive Director, The Allergan Foundation. “Through this donation to the Global Virus Network, we will have a direct impact on the important work being done in the U.S. and internationally to better diagnose and advance understanding of Zika.”

“Allergan is committed to supporting healthcare professionals and organizations in their efforts to address the diagnosis, prevention and public health challenges posed by growing global healthcare threats, including the international Zika crisis,” said Gavin Corcoran, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Allergan. “Allergan, through the philanthropic support of the Allergan Foundation, is proud to support this critical research effort by the Global Virus Network, and to potentially working with GVN on future research and public health efforts.”

“We are most appreciative of the Allergan Foundation’s donation and for their leadership for this important global research project and we look forward to additional opportunities for a growing partnership,” said Robert Gallo, MD, who is co-founder and scientific director of the Global Virus Network (GVN) and most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV. He continued, “Allergan’s donation allows GVN Zika researchers to work offensively as opposed to defensively. I often challenge those asking why scientists aren’t moving faster, acting quicker by suggesting that funders invest more so that laboratory discoveries can quickly translate to public health solutions, particularly during an acute outbreak. Allergan’s donation does just that for the Zika pandemic.” Dr. Gallo is also director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.

The GVN Zika Task Force is chaired by Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, who is also director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and scientific director of the Galveston National Laboratory, a GVN Center of Excellence. The Task Force serves as a catalyst for driving communication and information flow between fellow GVN colleagues researching and responding to the Zika epidemic gripping the world.

“A major obstacle to understanding and controlling the Zika epidemic is affordable, accurate diagnostics,” said Dr. Weaver. “This Zika serum bank will meet a critical global deficit by expanding a burgeoning program to obtain, validate and make available consistent, high quality immune sera from a wide variety of convalescent patients after definitive Zika diagnosis. Meaningful international collaborations are the key to ending this Zika outbreak.” According to the World Health Organization, 73 countries and territories are reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus transmissions.

In a GVN survey of its Centers of Excellence and 28 GVN Zika Task Force members, lack of sera from definitively diagnosed patients was identified as a major need to move the diagnostic field forward. Limited quantities of sera are a result of a number of variables, including patients typically providing only a small amount of blood that is consumed for their own diagnosis, leaving little to no sample to evaluate new tests. This newly funded serum bank will alleviate this issue by providing clinical samples to evaluate immune response to Zika virus infection and to compare this response to those of vaccines participating in the first human clinical trials.  “Our goal is to assemble a collection of at least 25 sera, each in quantities to supply 25 or more investigators. Oversight by my team at UTMB, the GVN leadership, and Zika Task force members, will ensure that these precious samples are made available to the most worthy requestors,” said Dr. Weaver.

About the Allergan Foundation

The Allergan Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation committed to providing a lasting and positive impact in the communities in which Allergan plc employees live and work. In addition to allocating resources primarily on health and human services, the Foundation conducts grant making in support of civic and community programs, education and the arts. Since its inception in 1998, The Allergan Foundation has distributed more than $60 million to a wide variety of philanthropic pursuits – improving lives, elevating communities.

About Allergan

Allergan plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a bold, global pharmaceutical company and a leader in a new industry model – Growth Pharma. Allergan is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceuticals, devices and biologic products for patients around the world.

Allergan markets a portfolio of leading brands and best-in-class products for the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics and dermatology, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology and anti-infective therapeutic categories.

Allergan is an industry leader in Open Science, the Company’s R&D model, which defines our approach to identifying and developing game-changing ideas and innovation for better patient care. This approach has led to Allergan building one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry with 65+ mid-to-late stage pipeline programs in development.

Our Company’s success is powered by our more than 16,000 global colleagues’ commitment to being Bold for Life. Together, we build bridges, power ideas, act fast and drive results for our customers and patients around the world by always doing what is right.

With commercial operations in approximately 100 countries, Allergan is committed to working with physicians, healthcare providers and patients to deliver innovative and meaningful treatments that help people around the world live longer, healthier lives every day.

For more information, visit Allergan’s website at www.Allergan.com.

Global Virus Network Adds Emory University as a Center of Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and Atlanta, GA, USA, Sept. 1, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN) and Emory University announced today the induction of Emory as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence. The GVN represents 37 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 25 countries and comprises foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans.

The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, co-founder and scientific director of GVN, Raymond Schinazi, PhD, DSc, the Frances Winship Walters Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at Emory University, and Carlos del Rio, MD, the Hubert Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Schinazi and del Rio will be co-directors of Emory’s GVN Center of Excellence.

Emory is renowned for its leading research programs that focus on various viruses including HIV/SIV, hepatitis B and C, dengue, herpes, Zika, influenza, norovirus, Ebola, chikungunya and West Nile viruses.

“Emory has broad outstanding virology and immunology research programs, but when it comes to HIV I know of no place with more serious contributors to the field than those at Emory,” said Gallo, who is co-discoverer of HIV and director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.

“From Ray Schinazi and Dennis Liotta’s pioneering drug development, to Carlos del Rio and Susan Allen’s important epidemiology, clinical and prevention research with some of the most vulnerable populations, to the molecular virology work of Eric Hunter and Cynthia Derdeyn, to the fundamental immunology of Max Cooper and Rafi Ahmed, to the critical studies on HIV pathogenesis of Guido Silvestri, to the vaccinology science research of Mark Mulligan and Rama Amara and unforgettably the tremendous contributions from James Curran on the early epidemiology of HIV. It is about time to have this great university as part of the GVN.”

”It is an honor to be included in the Global Virus Network,” says Schinazi, “and we look forward to increased collaborations with researchers around the world that can lead to new therapies and preventive strategies for the many challenging viruses we face. Institutions and scientists who work together can accomplish a great deal more than can any researcher or organization working individually.”

Numerous components of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center (including the Emory Vaccine Center, the Emory Center for AIDS Research, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the Emory Global Health Institute, Emory Institute for Drug Development, Tropical Infectious Diseases Program, Virology and Molecular Biomarkers Core, Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Prevention Research Center), and the Emory schools of medicine, public health and nursing all have contributed to the development of successful programs in virology that span basic laboratory research, clinical research, and behavioral science. Emory University has established collaborations with other Atlanta-based universities including Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech Partnership) and Morehouse School of Medicine (Prevention Research Center, PRC).

“Our programs in virology, including education, research, and patient care, have contributed to lifesaving global advances, and we are very pleased to contribute our knowledge, expertise and partnership to the future efforts of the GVN,” says del Rio.

The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training, developing scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

Dr. Robert Gallo is presenting the Raymond Schinazi Distinguished Lecture at 4 p.m. today on “Virus Epidemics with Special Emphasis on HIV and AIDS: Reflections on the Past and Prospects for the Future.” It will be held at Emory’s Health Sciences Research Building Auditorium, 1760 Haygood Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 and is free and open to the Emory community and the public.

Gallo will present reflections on the past and areas where we might have done better. He will discuss the great contributions in the field of HIV research and where we are today as well as a view of the key problems for the future. He will provide background on the special aspects of this kind of virus, namely a retrovirus, and his earlier discovery of the first known human retroviruses, human T cell leukemia virus-1, or HTLV-1, as well as HTLV-2.  He will end his lecture presenting on the direction research is headed, the Institute of Human Virology’s HIV vaccine, including where it is today (phase 1 human clinical trials) and the difficulties facing the field in the future.

About Emory University

Emory University, located in Atlanta, GA, encompasses outstanding undergraduate institutions, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory includes nine academic divisions as well as The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system. Emory University Hospital has affiliations with Grady Hospital (urban Community Hospital) and close proximity and collaborations with the adjacent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Global Virus Network Adds International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

Global Virus Network Adds International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

as Newest Center of Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 8, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 36 Centers of Excellence and 6 Affiliates in 25 countries and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) announced today the induction of IVI as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence. IVI is headquartered on the campus of Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of GVN and Jerome Kim, MD, Director General of IVI. IVI is the first organization in Korea to become a GVN Center of Excellence.

“IVI, with Dr. Jerome Kim at the helm, brings to the GVN an array of viral expertise, including HIV, Dengue, MERS-CoV and hepatitis E as well as a significant global reach with its field sites in nearly 30 countries in Asia, Africa and South America,” said Dr. Gallo, who is co-discoverer of HIV and Director of the Institute (IHV) of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “GVN is very pleased to welcome IVI into the network and looks forward to officially introducing IVI to GVN’s Centers of Excellence at our upcoming international meeting in Japan this fall.”

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is an international nonprofit organization that was founded on the belief that the health of children in developing countries can be dramatically improved by the use of new and improved vaccines. Working in collaboration with the international scientific community, public health organizations, governments, and industry, IVI is involved in all areas of the vaccine spectrum – from new vaccine design in the laboratory to vaccine development and evaluation in the field to facilitating sustainable introduction of vaccines in countries where they are most needed.

“IVI wishes to gain opportunities in information-sharing and collaborations on research and training initiatives with GVN members,” said Dr. Kim. “We especially look forward to participating in scientific exchanges, and fellows and training programs.”

The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training, developing scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from 25 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

 

About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

 

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established in 1997, IVI operates as an independent international organization under a treaty signed by 35 countries and the World Health Organization. The Institute conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America on vaccines against enteric and diarrheal infections, Japanese encephalitis, MERS-CoV, and dengue fever, and develops new and improved vaccines at its headquarters in Seoul, Republic of Korea. For more information, please visit http://www.ivi.int.