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

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.”