Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and Leuven, Belgium, August 17, 2017: The Global Virus Network (GVN) and the Laboratories of Virology & Chemotherapy at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven, Belgium announced today the induction of the institute as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence. The GVN represents 40 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates in 24 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, Global Virus Network and Johan Neyts, PhD, professor of virology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven. Neyts will be director of the Rega Institute’s GVN Center of Excellence.
“The Rega Institute for Medical Research is an impressive leader in medical virology, particularly with their world renowned BSL-3++ laboratory and their long-standing leadership in antiviral drug discovery and design against a broad array of virus families,” said Gallo, who is co-discoverer of HIV as the cause of AIDS and The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “This newest GVN Center of Excellence led by Dr. Johan Neyts will prove very beneficial to the GVN by providing invaluable resources and expertise to combat and mitigate viral threats and train the next generation of medical virologists.”
“The laboratories of Virology & Chemotherapy at the Rega Institute have an extensive toolbox of assays, expertise in molecular virology, cell biology, high throughput screening, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, biochemistry, and animal models that will be of great value to the top virologists who comprise the GVN,” says Neyts. “We also have a fully automated high containment lab equipped with, among others, two high content imagers. Further, we have been training many foreign researchers in our labs, including from developing nations, and we look forward to continuing to do so through GVN’s 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 through 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.
The GVN, in partnership with The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Institut Pasteur, will convene the 9th International Global Virus Network Meeting in Melbourne, Australia September 25-27, 2017. This year’s meeting will focus on “Pandemic, Epidemic and Emerging Viruses in the Asia Pacific Region.” More information can be found at www.gvn.org.
About the Laboratories of Virology & Chemotherapy at the Rega Institute for Medical Research
The mission of the Laboratories of Virology & Chemotherapy is to develop novel antiviral molecules and antiviral strategies against a wide array of important human viral pathogens [including but not limited to herpes viruses, polyoma- and poxviruses, HBV, HEV, HIV, influenza, flaviviruses (such as the dengue virus), alphaviruses (such as the Chikungunya virus), noroviruses, picornaviruses (rhino- and enteroviruses), paramyxoviruses (including RSV and para-influenza), corona- and bunyaviruses]. Likewise, a novel vaccine technology platform (Plasmid Launched Live Attenuated Virus; PLLAV) is being developed that allows to readily produce live attenuated vaccines (such as the yellow fever vaccine) that are highly thermostable and that can be produced in fermenters rather than in chicken eggs or eukaryotic cell culture.