Reflections on the GVN Munich meeting

June 3, 2013

With the 5th semi-annual meeting of the Global Virus Network just behind us, I take this opportunity to offer some reflections and perspectives.  My first reflection is to look back on the beautiful host city of Munich, a bustling modern city that has managed to maintain its particular  historic charm and warmth.   Our 75 meeting participants, who hailed from 19 countries, reveled in the spirit of Bavaria at Zum Franziskaner, where we enjoyed an evening of local fare and traditions, and the Villa Stuck, where we experienced the art of one of Munich’s most famous citizens.  This was a warm and welcoming platform for the scientific discussions that took place over the course of three days.  We are deeply grateful the Technical University of Munich and the Center for Infection Research for hosting us with style!

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Dear GVN Friends and Colleagues,

Every day, and on every corner of the globe, people become sick, and millions die, from viral infections. Old, young, rich and poor. We are all susceptible to viral disease. While preventive vaccines and drugs are available to fight some of these viruses, for many diseases, the scientific community has yet to develop diagnostic tests, vaccines to stop their spread, or dependable treatments. Worse, even as we combat known foes, viruses continue to evolve so the global community must be ever vigilant against new viruses causing diseases. SARS, West Nile, and H1N1 flu are recent examples of viruses which emerged to threaten large swaths of the globe. To protect human health, improve economies and enhance security, the medical virology community must work with a renewed vigor and with singular focus and purpose: to stop the spread of viral disease.

The Global Virus Network (GVN) envisions a world in which viruses do not ruin lives and economies. GVN is a coalition of top medical virologists from over 20 nations, all working together to speed the path to new knowledge on all of the medically important viruses. GVN is unique: it brings together experts on every medically relevant virus, and it fosters a community that will share expertise and knowledge, the very foundations of a strong scientific enterprise. The GVN advances research, supports training of tomorrow’s virologists, educates communities about viral threats and the promise of research, and advocates on behalf of the medical virology community worldwide. A strong GVN is an essential defensive mechanism against the viruses that cause illness and death today. And, as history reminds us, a strong GVN will be essential as newly emerging viral threats are discovered.

Having worked in global health for more than 20 years, I know that the hallmarks of successful global health programs are solid and sustained science coupled with strong political will. GVN is working through its scientists and its many partners to improve the health of people worldwide. We believe that viruses can be conquered. Join us!

President