The GVN Chikungunya Task Force is a group of leading scientists from around the world committed to finding solutions to the growing problem of Chikungunya virus.
Who is on it?
Led by two members of GVN’s Centers of Excellence, Dr. Scott Weaver, PhD, from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Dr. John Fazakerely, PhD, of the Pirbright Institute, in the U.K., in addition, Dr. Marc Lecuit, MD PhD, of the Institut Pasteur in Paris. The Task Force includes the following members, GVN Centers of Excellence affiliates and partner organization.
- Barry Beaty, PhD (Professor, Colorado St. Univ., and GVN Envoy)
- James Crowe, MD (Professor, Vanderbilt University)
- Diane Griffin, PhD (Professor, Johns Hopkins University)
- William Hall, PhD (Professor, University College Dublin, Ireland)
- William Klimstra, PhD (Assoc. Prof., University of Pittsburgh)
- Peter Liljestrom, PhD (Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
- Jean Lim, PhD (Assist. Prof., Mount Sinai Hospital, NY)
- Calum N.L. Macpherson, PhD (Professor and Director of Research St. George’s Univ., Grenada)
- Andres Merits, PhD (Professor, University of Tartu, Estonia)
- Kenneth Olson, PhD (Professor, and Director, Arthropod-Borne Infectious Disease Laboratory at Colorado St. Univ.)
- Janusz Paweska, DVM (Head of the Special Pathogen Unit, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, South Africa)
- Dr. Kate Ryman, PhD (Assoc. Prof., University of Pittsburgh)
- In-Kyu Yoon, MD (Director, Virology, AFRIMS, Thailand)
What is Chikungunya?
- Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes its victims to suffer severe fever and debilitating pain.
- There is no specific antiviral drug treatment or vaccine for Chikungunya; treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms.
- Chikungunya was first described during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952, but has most recently reached the Caribbean and South America – and is predicted to soon cause outbreaks in the United States.
What will the Task Force do?
- Review the state of the science and potential research opportunities on animal models of infection and disease, candidate vaccine constructs, new anti-viral drugs, and seroepidemiology studies for previously unrecognized cases of CHIK, while including a focus on the Caribbean.
- Identify potential funding sources to support international collaborative research and address gaps in knowledge.
- Train the next generation of researchers to study the interactions between viruses and mosquito vectors.
- Provide expertise and visibility as GVN speaks about this challenge to a variety of audiences.