Middle East Virus Travels to Far East

Middle East Virus (MERS) Travels to Far East

On June 14, The World Health Organization (WHO) described the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in South Korea as “large and complex.” The WHO, joined by South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, called for strengthening of contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine as well as expanded laboratory testing to prevent further spread of the virus. To date there have been 150 cases and 16 deaths in South Korea.

The MERS virus is a coronavirus, similar to the SARS coronavirus that erupted in China in 2003 and subsequently spread to 25 other countries, causing 774 deaths worldwide. As with SARS, the MERS virus likely has its origin in bats. MERS may then be transmitted to camels. Many human cases of MERS appear to be linked with previous contacts with camels.

MERS first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The virus causes a severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. So far, Saudi has had 1,030 cases, of which 453 (44%) were fatal. (A world map of other MERS cases is available here.)

With the sudden jump of MERS virus into South Korea many scientists and public health officials are questioning why no vaccine candidates are available. Coronaviruses in general, and the SARS and MERS viruses in particular, have been extensively studied, along with their molecular biology and host immune responses. Some of that basic knowledge was developed and used by GVN Center Director and globally recognized SARS and MERS expert Dr. Ab Osterhaus to develop a candidate vaccine. Dr. Osterhaus used another virus, adenovirus, to carry proteins thereby eliciting immune responses in an animal model. In mice, this candidate prevents infection from the native MERS virus.

Recent reports in Reuters lay some of the blame for slow progress on vaccines at the door of the closed and often secretive kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The other source of foot-dragging is the uncertain market size, and manufacturing costs. Reuters notes “only a handful of small biotechs, including Greffex, Inovio, Novavax, have done any MERS vaccine work and their research is still pre-clinical. For profit-orientated drug companies, the problem is working out who is going to use a vaccine, who is going to pay for it and whether this is a commercial market.”

“The Global Virus Network works to spur research on viral threats, before they become pandemic,” said GVN’s President. “Working with Dr. Osterhaus, Dr. Mathew Frieman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and other GVN experts, we hope to advance understanding of MERS in order to speed development of treatment and preventions,” she added.

 

GVN Scandinavia-Baltic-Ukraine Region 2015 Meeting

 

Global Virus Network conference of virologists for the Scandinavia-Baltic-Ukraine region

8th-10th of June, 2015

Djurönäset, Sweden

GVN convenes regional conference in Stockholm, Sweden.  10 countries joining in.

–Meeting Agenda–


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Monday, June 8th
12.45 – 14.00     Lunch

Session 1              14.00-16.00 (Chair Anders Vahlne)

14.00 – 14.15         Welcome words. Andres Merits (Estonia), Anders Vahlne (Sweden)

14.15 – 14.30         Welcome words GVN’s Presdent

14.30 – 15.00         Peter Liljeström, Karolinska InstitutetThe making of a chikungunya vaccine”

15.00 – 15.30         Åke Lundkvist, Uppsala University “Rats – an emerging threat?”

15.30 – 16.15         Check in and Coffee break

Session 2              16.15 – 18.00 (Chair Andres Merits)

16.15 – 16.30         Erkki Truve, Tallinn University of Technology: “A proposal for the creation of the family Sobemoviridae

16.30-16.45          Cecilia Sarmiento, Tallinn University of Technology: “Viral silencing suppressors“

16.45-17.00          Irina Golovljova, Institute of Health development, Estonia– “Circulation of  Hepatitis E virus in Estonia“

17.00 – 17.30         Jonas Klingström, Karolinska InstitutetHantavirus in the cell – who kills who, how, and what are the consequences?”

17.30 – 18.00         Jan Albert, Karolinska Institutet ” HIV-1 evolution in patients followed from early into chronic infection with whole-genome deep sequencing”

18.00 – 19.30         Networking

19.30 – 21.00         Conference dinner

Tuesday, June 9th

Session 3              09.40 – 12.40 (Chair Anders Vahlne)

9.40 – 10.10           “Global Virus Network: Priorities and Progress” GVN’s President

10.10-10.30           Baiba Niedre-Otomere, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Latvia “Recombinant Semliki Forest virus replicon approach in search of an improved vaccine for Hepatitis B virus: induction of neutralizing antibodies”

10.30-10.45           Coffee break

10.45 – 11.30         Joakim Dillner, Karolinska Institutet “Expanding the family of human papillomaviruses”

11.30 – 12.15         Cecilia Söderberg-Naucler, Karolinska InstitutetIs there a role for Cytomegalovirus in cancer?”

12.15-12.30         Pratyush Kumar Das, University of Tartu: Developing alphavirus research tools from biochemical profile of nonstructural protein 2”

12.30-12.35          Oksana Yurchenko, SB «Mechnikov Ukranian Anti-Plague Research Institute of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine», Odessa, Ukraine “Characterization of Two Strains of Tribec Virus Isolated in Ukraine”

12.35-12.40          Iaroslava Maksymovych, Palladin Institute of Biochemistry of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine “Biosafety and Biosecurity Issues in Ukraine”

12.45 – 13.30 Lunch

Session 4              13.30 – 15.00 (Chair Jan Balzarini)

13.30 – 14.15         Robert C. Gallo, GVN Co-Founder, Institute of Human Virology, Baltimore, Maryland “Developing a Successful HIV Vaccine.”

14.15 – 15.00         Michael Kann, University of Bordeaux, France “Travelling through the cell with HBV – from basic research to therapy options”.

Session 5                             15.00-15.40 Short talks (Chair Peter Horal)

 Merike Sõmera, Tallinn University of Technology: „Plant viruses detected in cereals in Estonia“

Anna Ivanova, Institute of Health development, Estonia – „Detection of tick-borne encephalitis virus RNA in acute samples of TBE patients“

Kairi Värv, Institute of Health development, Estonia – “Characterization of TBEV natural foci in Estonia“

Kristi Huik ,University of Tartu “Co-infection with HCV in HIV-positive subjects in Estonia”

Pilleriin Soodla, University of Tartu “Estonian HIV cohort study”

Eveli Kallas University of Tartu “The immune phenotype of Caucasian intravenous drug users and its associations with HIV, HCV and HBV serostatuses”

Hanna Artemchuk, Ukraine and Karolinska Institutet The role of HPV-testing in early diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial lesions”

Helena Faust, Karolinska Institutet “Usage of Pseudovirions in HPV serology and HPV vaccine efficacy follow-up”

15.40-15.55           Coffee break

Session 6              15.55-16.40 Short talks (Chair Peter Horal)

Alma Gedvilaite, the Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius University      “Detection and characterization of novel polyomaviruses in wild rodents”

Milda  Norkiene, the Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius University   “Expression in yeast of novel human polyomaviruses VP1-derived virus-like particles, their purification and application in serology”

Rasa Petraityte-Burneikiene, the Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius University “Production in yeast of human bocavirus 1-4 VP2 virus-like particles and generation of VP2-specific monoclonal antibodies as novel tools for bocavirus serology”

Indre Kucinskaite-Kodze, the Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius University “Evaluation of trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus capsid protein as a new carrier for insertion of foreign epitopes”

Aurelija Zvirbliene, the Institute of Biotechnology of Vilnius UniversityUniversity “Construction of polyomavirus-derived pseudotype virus-like particles harbouring functionally active antibody molecules”

Eva Žusinaite, University of Tartu “Swapping of functional regions of alphavirus genomes”.

Anda Vilmane, , Riga Stradins University August Kirchenstein Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Latvia “Detection of human bocavirus 1 in children with lower respiratory tract diseases in Latvia”

Kristine Vaivode, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Latvia “PBMC stimulation with dsRNA provokes DC maturation”

Karina Spunde, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Latvia “PreS1 dependent HBV entry modelling in cell culture”

16.40 – 17.00         Coffee break

Session 7              17.00 – 18.30 (Chair Andres Merits)

17.00-17.15           Radko Avi, University of Tartu ”HIV-1 resistance in Estonia through the

years“

17.15-17.35         Dace Pjanova, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Latvia “Comparison of lymphocyte activity after their ex vivo stimulation with dsRNA”     

17.35 – 18.20         Stefan Schwartz, University of LundRNA binding proteins that control HPV16 gene expression.”

18.20 – 18.50         Andres Merits, University of Tartu “Alphavirus neurovirulence is affected by virus ability to induce interferon expression”

18.50 – 19.30         Networking

19.30 – 21.00         Conference dinner

Wednesday, June 10th

Check out before 10.30

Session 6              9.30 – 12.30 (Chair Anders Vahlne)

9.30 – 10.00           Mart Ustav University of Tartu : “Development of  diagnostic and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies from different species using non-hybridoma technology.”

10.00 – 10.30        Gerald McInerney , Karolinska InstitutetViral and cellular proteins containing FGDF motifs bind G3BP to block stress granule formation”

10.30-10.45           Coffee break

11.00-11.30           Bastian Thaa, Karolinska Institutet  “Activation of PI3K–Akt–mTOR pathway upon infection with Old World alphaviruses”

11.30 – 12.00         Sigvard Olofsson, Gothenburg UniversityO-linked glycosylation of viral envelope proteins: A rapidly developing field”

12.00 – 12.30         Tomas Bergström, Gothenburg UniversityCholestanol-conjugated sulfated oligosaccharide PG545 disrupts lipid envelope of herpes simplex virus particles”

12.45 – 13.45         Lunch

14.00                     Departure of bus to Stockholm[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Global Virus Network Meeting Strengthens Ties Among Top Virus Researchers

GVN’s programs facilitate international collaborations to address growing viral threats

May 19, 2015, Beijing, China–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 7th meeting in partnership with Beijing University of Technology, a GVN Center of Excellence, in Beijing, China May 16-19,2015. During a time of mass migration, global climate change and threats of remerging viruses such as Ebola, the timing and location of the meeting is of significant importance. Experts shared information on varying viral threats, including those causing hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis, HIV, measles, influenza, dengue and chikungunya, to name a few. GVN members also reviewed strategies at the center of the organization including the creation of specialized task forces and the launch of training programs to address growing viral threats.

“We are pleased to have served as the catalyst for important scientific discussions and the inspiration for new international collaborations.”

“Professor Yi Zeng and his colleagues hosted an impressive, scientific meeting,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of the GVN. “The meeting provided an opportunity for leading experts to share cutting-edge research and stimulate difficult questions in an effort to solve some of the field’s top basic science and clinical challenges.”

“It is fitting for Beijing University of Technology to host many of the world’s top medical virologists as the University celebrates 55 years of success,” said Professor Yi Zeng, GVN China Center of Excellence Director. “We are pleased to have served as the catalyst for important scientific discussions and the inspiration for new international collaborations.”

GVN Centers of Excellence reviewed the effectiveness of strategies implemented by the network including the creation of international task forces and the use of technology to tackle today’s viral challenges.

For example, in 2014, GVN launched the Chikungunya Task Force in response to outbreaks spreading from Africa and Southeast Asia to North and South America. At the conference, GVN Task Force leaders discussed the spread of chikungunya around the world, current treatments and top prospects for vaccine candidates. GVN utilizes information technology such as a globally accessible webinar series to educate business leaders and media, among others, on viral threats such as chikungunya.

One topic of priority concern in both China and the U.S. is the re-emergence of measles. Dr. Diane Griffin at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shared updates on how the virus causes disease and how the measles vaccine offers protection against other infectious diseases. The protective value of the vaccine clearly establishes that vaccination policies should be rigorously implemented.

“In addition to the scientific exchanges, the GVN Centers of Excellence recommitted themselves to ensuring that the world is prepared against future pandemics by ensuring the training of tomorrow’s virology leaders,” said Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, President of the GVN. The GVN will host an intensive training course in medical virology in July, and invited Centers to send their best and brightest students to participate in the course, which includes world leaders as lecturers.

“We look forward to welcoming tomorrow’s medical virology leaders from around the world to Baltimore in July,” said Dr. Hrynkow.

Global Virus Network Meeting Strengthens Ties Among Top Virus Researchers

Global Virus Network Meeting Strengthens Ties Among Top Virus Researchers

GVN’s programs facilitate international collaborations to address growing viral threats Beijing, China, May 19, 2015:

Dr.Qing Ma, GVN President, Dr. Robert Gallo, Dr. Yi Zeng, Dr. Diane Griffin

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 7th meeting in partnership with Beijing University of Technology, a GVN Center of Excellence, in Beijing, China May 16-19,2015. During a time of mass migration, global climate change and threats of remerging viruses such as Ebola, the timing and location of the meeting is of significant importance.  Experts shared information on varying viral threats, including those causing hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis, HIV, measles, influenza, dengue and chikungunya, to name a few. GVN members also reviewed strategies at the center of the organization including the creation of specialized task forces and the launch of training programs to address growing viral threats.

“Professor Yi Zeng and his colleagues hosted an impressive, scientific meeting,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, Co-Founder and Scientific Director of the GVN. “The meeting provided an opportunity for leading experts to share cutting-edge research and stimulate difficult questions in an effort to solve some of the field’s top basic science and clinical challenges.”

“It is fitting for Beijing University of Technology to host many of the world’s top medical virologists as the University celebrates 55 years of success,” said Professor Yi Zeng, GVN China Center of Excellence Director. “We are pleased to have served as the catalyst for important scientific discussions and the inspiration for new international collaborations.”

GVN Centers of Excellence reviewed the effectiveness of strategies implemented by the network including the creation of international task forces and the use of technology to tackle today’s viral challenges.

For example, in 2014, GVN launched the Chikungunya Task Force in response to outbreaks spreading from Africa and Southeast Asia to North and South America. At the conference, GVN Task Force leaders discussed the spread of chikungunya around the world, current treatments and top prospects for vaccine candidates. GVN utilizes information technology such as a globally accessible webinar series to educate business leaders and media, among others, on viral threats such as chikungunya.

One topic of priority concern in both China and the U.S. is the re-emergence of measles. Dr. Diane Griffin at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shared updates on how the virus causes disease and how the measles vaccine offers protection against other infectious diseases. The protective value of the vaccine clearly establishes that vaccination policies should be rigorously implemented.

“In addition to the scientific exchanges, the GVN Centers of Excellence recommitted themselves to ensuring that the world is prepared against future pandemics by ensuring the training of tomorrow’s virology leaders, ” said the President of the GVN.  The GVN will host an intensive training course in medical virology in July, and invited Centers to send their best and brightest students to participate in the course, which includes world leaders as lecturers.

“We look forward to welcoming tomorrow’s medical virology leaders from around the world to Baltimore in July,” said GVN’s President.

Top Virologists Meet in China to Address Threats

Top Virologists of the Global Virus Network (GVN) Meet in China to Address Threats

The Addition of Two GVN Centers of Excellence Strengthen GVN’s Worldwide Reach

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 11, 2015: 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, in partnership with Beijing University of Technology, a GVN Center of Excellence, will host its 7th meeting of top virologists May 16-19, 2015 in Beijing, China. The announcement was made today by Robert Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and Scientific Director, Yi Zeng, MD, PhD, GVN China’s Center of Excellence Director and the GVN President. They also announced the addition of two new GVN Centers of Excellence including the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York (SUNY), USA and the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Barcelona, Spain. Since its founding in 2011, GVN has grown to include 34 Centers of Excellence in 24 countries, comprising expertise in all classes of human viruses.

“I am pleased to join my friend and colleague, Professor Yi Zeng, in hosting this important meeting as these personal, face-to-face interactions among our colleagues are integral to sharing information and inspiring international collaborations that otherwise might not exist,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “China has been involved with GVN from the very inception, and Professor Yi Zeng has been and continues to be a valued and honored GVN leader as well as a member of the Scientific Leadership Board, which reviews all prospective Centers.“

“China is honored to host this meeting of the GVN,” said Professor Yi Zeng, Honorary Dean at the College of Life Sciences and Bioengineering at Beijing University of Technology and Chief Scientist and Professor at the Institute of Viral Diseases Control and Prevention China, a GVN Center of Excellence. “We are committed to working closely with our colleagues at the GVN and strengthening ties with the internationally renowned scholars who comprise the network.”

Members of the GVN will exchange ideas on viruses including HPV and Esophageal Carcinoma, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, emerging viruses, Measles, MERS, Dengue, Chikungunya, HTLV, Influenza, Hemorrhagic Fever viruses – including Ebola, among other viruses, and viral diagnostics. Other prominent virologists participating in the meeting include Dianne Griffin, MD, PhD of GVN’s Center of Excellence at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, who is a renowned measles expert and Ab Osterhaus, DVM, PhD, of GVN’s Center of Excellence at University of Veterinary Medicine, Germany, who is a renowned coronavirus expert (SARS, MERS). They will discuss many viral challenges China shares with other nations, including the rise of measles and the threat of coronaviruses.

“We are honored to be hosted in China, where the tradition of supporting virology in China is strong and the tradition of international cooperation stronger still,” added GVN’s President.   ”This meeting in China paves the way for onward collaborations and strengthening of our global safety net against viral disease threats. It is the first time that the GVN has met outside of the U.S. or Europe, and we are delighted to be in Asia.”

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.

 

GVN Scientist Publishes Ebola – Marburg Virus Connection

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire’s Lab of The Scripps Research Institute recently published in Cell the discovery of an antibody that binds to both the  Marburg and Ebola virus. The ability of an antibody to bind to both of these  deadly viruses is a major step forward in the potential treatment of them. Article

Confronting Ebola at its Origins: GVN Member, The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Deploys their Mobile Diagnostic Laboratory to Sierra Leone

The 2014/15 outbreak of Ebola virus disease is the largest ever reported of this deadly, highly infectious, hemorrhagic disease since its initial discovery in humans in 1976. The current outbreak was first recognized in March, 2014 in Guinea and has since crossed international boundaries into Sierra Leone and Liberia where case numbers have now surpassed those recorded in the country of origin. Due to international travel of infected individuals, both medical professionals and non-professionals, the virus has also been introduced and caused smaller outbreaks in Mali, Nigeria, Spain and the United States. A worldwide response was launched. Like the infectious agent, this approach crosses interdisciplinary, geographical, cultural and socio-political boundaries and includes research, professional and public education, clinical care and respectful, safe disposition of the remains of those who died from the illness. In this paper, we aim to reduce fears of the unknown and encourage continued efforts to conquer the epidemic by describing the nature of the infectious agent, by providing a brief overview of its history, scope, and impact.

Prof. dr hab. Janusz T. Paweska & Dr. Petrus Jansen van Vuren Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Disease of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

GVN Symposium on the Global Spread of Chikungunya

GVN Symposium on the Global Spread of Chikungunya

On November 5, GVN and its partner, ASTMH, convened a special symposium on “The Global Spread of Chikungunya: Epidemiology, Evolution, Pathogenesis and Global Needs” at the annual ASTMH meeting in New Orleans.  All three of GVN’s Task Force Chairs on Chikungunya spoke at the session, which was organized by Dr. Scott Weaver of UTMB, one of the co-chairs.  Other co-chairs are Dr. Marc Lecuit, Pasteur Institute, France, and Dr. John Fazakerley, Pirbright Institute, UK.  Click here for the full agenda.

June 18, 2014 The view from Estonia

June 18, 2014 The view from Estonia by GVN’s President. Here in the homeland of Skype, Mobile ID, online voting and X-Road data exchanges, it did not take long for more than a hundred local and foreign virologists to merge seamlessly into the first GVN Scandinavian-Baltic Conference. The June 10-13 conference included scientists and physicians from Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the U.S., France, and Ukraine. This first Baltic Region conference was organized by Professor Andres Merits from Estonia’s University of Tartu—a GVN-affiliated Center of Excellence—and by Professor Anders Vahlne from Sweden’s Karolinksa Institute and the director of the Scandinavia-Baltic GVN Center of Excellence. In addition, the conference was supported by several other groups including, the European Union, the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation. Science and technology may have been the reason for holding a conference of virologists, but diplomacy also played a role in bringing together so many strangers in Tallinn. In this case, the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Chever Voltmer, hosted a welcome reception for the conferees. In her welcoming remarks, DCM Voltmer reminded us of the importance of GVN’s international work, particularly as infectious diseases and their vectors move invisibly across borders and through nations. She congratulated us for working to bring together so many regional experts, as well as for including a delegation from Ukraine. In thanking the DCM for her generosity in welcoming our group, I noted how important it is for scientists to know each other’s scientific work, as well as each other as people, recognizing that trust and understanding of one’s colleagues can be critical to progress, particularly during times of crisis and confusion. The US embassy’s reception helped pave the way for the substantive scientific exchanges that followed. The conference was held at the Laulasmaa Resort, 30 minutes outside of Tallinn in an idyllic setting on the chilly Baltic Sea. The formal part of the program was given over to presentations from senior and junior scientists on viral challenges facing the Baltic region: HIV, Chikungunya, Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis B and C, among them. Novel vaccine technologies, new approaches to drug therapies, and epidemiological programs were featured. What struck me as a great feature of the conference was the number of post-doctoral fellows and PhD students in the mix. Interactions between the scientific veterans and the class of future virology leaders were critical to the chemistry and success of the conference. “Transformative,” was how one PhD student put it to me, after noting this was the first scientific conference she had been able to attend. One could see the optimism for future work and the hope to be engaged for the long-term. Members of the Ukrainian delegation were warmly welcomed participants at this Baltic conference. A senior Ukrainian delegate said it was his wish that GVN could help reduce the distance between Ukrainian virologists and colleagues in the Baltics and Scandinavia. Clearly, there was great interest on the part of conference participants to collaborate with regional and global colleagues. We take note! As these virologists left to return to their labs and wards, the GVN will start to work on how to continue dialogue, create lasting regional collaborations, and support the many excellent ideas which surfaced during the conference, both scientifically and administratively. It is my hope that we will be able to convene again, and to do so having supported a number of activities in the interim, each aimed at bolstering science and improving career paths for our next generation of virologists.

MEDIA ADVISORY

Who: The Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) and St. George’s University (SGU) in partnership with the Global Virus Network (GVN)

  • Dr. Robert Gallo, Director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Co-Founder and Scientific Director, GVN
  • Dr. Anders Vahlne, Professor of Clinical Virology at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, and Center Director of the Swedish-Estonia GVN Center of Excellence
  • The Rt. Hon C. Modeste-Curwen, Minister of Health, Grenada
  • Calum N.L. Macpherson, Vice President and Founding Director, WINDREF
  • Dr.  Charles R. Modica, Chancellor, SGU

What: Virology Workshop for U.S. and Caribbean Journalists

When: 7:30 am, Thursday January 30, 2014 – 12:00 pm, Saturday February 1, 2014

Where: St. George’s University (SGU)

Contact: For more info, please contact Nora Grannell at ngrannell@gvn.org or 1 410-706-1966

Conference Overview:

The Viral Workshop for Journalists will provide reporters from varying U.S. and Caribbean media outlets an opportunity to learn firsthand about the nature of viruses, their spread, and virus treatments and vaccinations.  The workshop aims to take what can be a complex subject – the science and epidemiology of viruses – and break it down to a comprehensible level that can be utilized when reporters need to communicate to the masses about important news relating to viruses.  The workshop will feature expert virologists from around the world, including world renowned virologist Dr. Robert Gallo, most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV and his development of the blood test.  Dr. Gallo also discovered the first known human retroviruses (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2) which are endemic to regions in the Caribbean including Grenada.  Local officials including the Rt. Hon C. Modeste-Curwin, Minister of Health will open the meeting, and SGU students will engage with reporters in the laboratory, among other activities.

Other leading participants include Dr. Anders Vahlne, Professor of Clinical Virology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, and Center Director of the Swedish-Estonian GVN Center of Excellence; Dr. Calum MacPherson, Vice Provost at St. George’s University and Vice President of WINDREF; Dr. Donald Jungkind, Professor of Microbiology at St. George’s University Medical School; and Dr. Charles Modica, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor of St. George’s University.