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

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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

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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)

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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.

Institut Pasteur and University of the West Indies, Mona Join Renowned Global Virus Network to Combat Viral Diseases

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Institut Pasteur and University of the West Indies, Mona Join Renowned Global Virus Network to Combat Viral Diseases

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 24, 2016: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 36 Centers of Excellence and 6 Affiliates in 24 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, announced today the addition of the Institut Pasteur as its newest Center of Excellence and the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI) as its newest Affiliate Center of Excellence. The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and Scientific Director and José Esparza, MD, PhD, GVN President.

“These two new additions are particularly important as they strengthen GVN’s international reach,” said Dr. Gallo, who is also Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “I have a long history of working with Institut Pasteur and look forward to collaborating again through GVN initiatives. Their science is superb and their network impressive.” Dr. Gallo continued, “We also look forward to working with colleagues in Jamaica through UWI to explore new research projects, such as those involving endemic viruses in the region including HIV and HTLV, and to examine and implement best practices as we work together to enhance the global safety net against viral disease.”

“GVN has an important role to play in our preparedness and response to emerging viral threats, especially in the aspects related to research and development,” said José Esparza, MD, PhD, GVN President. “Institut Pasteur and UWI strengthen our ability to facilitate collaborations and solve complex viral problems.”

The Institut Pasteur in Paris, France is an internationally renowned center for biomedical research with a network of 33 institutes worldwide. In the pursuit of its mission to prevent and fight against diseases in France and throughout the world, the Institut Pasteur operates in four main areas: scientific and medical research, public health and health monitoring, teaching, and business development and technology transfer. Institut Pasteur’s GVN co-directors include Antoine Gessain MD, PhD, Professor, Chief of the Oncogenic Virus Epidemiology and Pathophysiology, and Marc Lecuit MD, PhD, Head of the Biology of Infection Unit.

The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona was inducted into the GVN as an affiliate through collaborations with three GVN Centers of Excellence including the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York; and, Colorado State University (CSU). The UWI/Jamaica—GVN collaboration, led by John Lindo, BSc, PhD, professor and associate dean in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and department chair for microbiology at UWI, will build local capacity in the prevention and management of diseases caused by viruses by increasing research and training opportunities through GVN and partner organizations.

“UWI Mona has Jamaica’s only virus laboratory with the capability of handling live viruses for medical diagnosis and scientific research,” said Dr. Lindo. “It also has a cadre of highly trained virologists and is the site of the National Influenza Center. Using this unique capability in the country, UWI will collaborate with GVN, leveraging their expertise, to better respond to outbreak of viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika in Jamaica and better prepare for additional global threats including Influenza and Ebola.”

Scott Weaver with First Robert C. Gallo Award

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Global Virus Network (GVN) Presents Mosquito-Borne Virus Expert for Scientific Excellence
The Award was presented during a meeting organized by Emory University and co-sponsored by the GVN on the Zika virus
May 2, 2016, Atlanta, GA: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 35 Centers of Excellence and 5 Affiliates in 26 countries, and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, today announced Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, as the first recipient of the GVN Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence. Dr. Weaver is Chair of GVN’s Chikungunya and Zika Task Forces as well as 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 Award was presented by José Esparza, MD, PhD, president of the GVN and Raymond Schinazi, PhD, Hon Dsc, member of the GVN Board of Advisors and Zika Task Force and the Frances Winship Walters Professor at Emory University. The honor was bestowed during a scientific meeting entitled, “Bridging the Sciences: Zika Virus,” organized by Emory University and co-sponsored by GVN in Atlanta, Georgia May 1-3, 2016.

Link- Dr. Robert Gallo Congratulates Dr. Scott Weaver on First GVN Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence
L to R:Drs Raymond Schinazi, Scott Weaver,José Esparza,Mario Stevenson, Suzane K Ono-Nita

L to R: Raymond Schinazi, PhD, Hon Dsc, Emory University; Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, Galveston National Laboratory; José Esparza, MD, PhD, president of the GVN; Mario Stevenson, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; and, Suzane K Ono-Nita, MD, PhD, University of São Paulo

“It was unanimous when deciding who should receive the inaugural Award, and it is my great pleasure that Dr. Scott Weaver will be the first honoree,” said Dr. Robert C. Gallo, co-founder and scientific director of the Global Virus Network (GVN), The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Dr. Weaver is not only a leader in the GVN, but an exceptional public health virologist who is most deserving of this recognition. A warm congratulations to Dr. Weaver.”

 

Scott Weaver, MS, PhD Biography

Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, is a virologist and vector biologist who advances our understanding of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) and their transmission by mosquitoes, and develops vaccines to control the diseases that they cause. As a faculty member since 1994 at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, he has developed an internationally recognized research program encompassing the ecology and epidemiology of enzootic arbovirus transmission cycles, virus-mosquito interactions, and emergence mechanisms of epidemic strains. Dr Weaver utilizes his broad training to develop interdisciplinary approaches that have had major impacts on our understanding of arboviral disease emergence. These include Venezuelan equine encephalitis, for which the international research groups he has led determined the ecological and evolutionary sources as well as mechanisms of epidemic strain emergence. Dr Weaver’s recent studies have focused on chikungunya virus, its history of emergence from wildlife African cycles, mosquito-adaptive evolution, and its viral genetic constraints, as well as Zika virus, which arrived in the Americas and is causing a major epidemic associated with congenital microcephaly and Guillain Barré syndrome. His research on tropical arboviral diseases has included major field studies in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Panama, Senegal, and Kenya. Dr Weaver has also developed promising new vaccines for several of these arboviral diseases. The chikungunya vaccine developed in his laboratory, licensed to Takeda Pharmaceuticals and patented in 19 countries, is in late preclinical evaluation.

Dr Weaver’s research has led to over 260 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, and over 70 reviews and book chapters. He has mentored 18 PhD students as well as 23 postdoctoral fellows, and many have gone on into prominent, independent scientific positions in government, academia, and industry. Dr Weaver’s research and educational contributions have been recognized with many local and international awards. In 2014 he received the Walter Reed medal, awarded every three years by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene for distinguished career accomplishments in tropical medicine research. His many leadership positions include his current role as chair of the Global Virus Network’s Chikungunya and Zika Task Forces. He also serves as an editor for several major tropical medicine and microbiology journals. At UTMB, Dr Weaver leads the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity (IHII), which coordinates infectious disease research as the administrative home of the Galveston National Laboratory (one of two NIH-funded national biocontainment facilities); the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development; the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases; and the Center for Tropical Diseases. He is also scientific director of the Galveston National Laboratory, and interim chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.