Editorial from Dr. Christian Brechot and Dr. Robert Gallo

The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is spreading and has become a pandemic with a major impact on national health systems and economics, as well as population behaviors. Delineating the future of the pandemic expansion and the geographical areas which will be hit has important consequences as to the capacity to be prepared and take adequate measures to curb the viral dissemination. The progress of science and in particular of mathematical modeling has now offered this possibility. The Global Virus Network, with its fifty four research centers worldwide, has been supporting such initiative. In the posted article from Dr Mohammad M. Sajadi and Dr. Anthony Amoroso, working at the Institute of Human Virology and Global Virus Network, University of Maryland, and other colleagues, the scientists suggest that weather modeling can explain the spread of the virus until now, and that it may be possible to predict the regions most likely to be at higher risk of significant community spread of COVID-19 in the upcoming weeks. This might allow to better focus the public health efforts on surveillance and containment. Clearly, beside climate variables, there are multiple factors to be considered when dealing with a pandemic, such as human population densities and human factors, viral genetic evolution and pathogenesis. Thus those predictions should be considered with caution. Yet this work exactly illustrates how networking activities and science, as provided by the Global Virus Network, can contribute to curbing the infectious threats.

 

Robert Gallo

Co-Founder & International Scientific Advisor, Global Virus Network

Co-founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

 

Christian Bréchot

President Global Virus network

Professor University of South Florida

ENHANCED MODEL FOR MONITORING ZONES OF INCREASED RISK OF COVID-19 SPREAD

Research By GVN Scientists Establishes Link Between Temperature, Latitude, Spread & Seasonality

Baltimore, MD, March 10, 2020:  Scientists affiliated with the Global Virus Network (GVN), the worldwide coalition of preeminent virologists engaged in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, existing and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, have determined that temperature and latitude may have a direct link to the spread and seasonality of COVID-19.  The analysis was conducted by Drs. Mohammad M. Sajadi, MD, and Anthony Amoroso, MD, in conjunction with the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland and Global Virus Network.  Their paper (https://bit.ly/3cMhQ43), “Temperature and Latitude Analysis to Predict Potential Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19” has been made publicly available at the Elsevier’s SSRN site (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3550308).  Researchers from University of Maryland College Park, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz, Iran, and Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran also participated in this study.

 

Figure. World 1000hPa temperature map March 2019-April 2019 showing at risk zone. Color gradient indicates 1000hPa temperatures in degrees Celsius. Tentative zone at risk for significant community spread in the near-term include land areas within the light green bands, outlined in dark black (showing 5-10°C zone based on 2019 data). Predicted area is up to 11°C (slightly more south, not shown), and will change based on actual average temperatures during this time period. Image from Climate Reanalyzer (https://ClimateReanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.

“Through this extensive research, it has been determined that weather modeling could potentially explain the spread of COVID-19, making it possible to predict the regions that are most likely to be at higher risk of significant community spread in the near future,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, Co-founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Co-Founder and Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the GVN.  Dr. Gallo is also The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “In addition to climate variables, there are multiple factors to be considered when dealing with a pandemic, such as human population densities, human factors, viral genetic evolution and pathogenesis.  This work illustrates how collaborative research can contribute to understanding, mitigating and preventing infectious threats.”

To date, COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has established significant community spread in cities and regions along a narrow east and west distribution, roughly along the 30-50 N” corridor at consistently similar weather patterns (5-11 degrees C and 47-79% humidity).  The GVN’s simplified weather model illustrates the regions that are potentially at higher risk of significant community spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks, allowing for concentration of public health efforts on surveillance and containment.

“The research conducted by Drs. Mohammad M. Sajadi, MD, and Anthony Amoroso, MD, suggests that overall, human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-OC43), which usually lead to common cold symptoms, have been shown to display strong winter seasonality between December and April, and are undetectable in summer months in temperate regions,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, and a Professor at the University of South Florida.  “Based upon the analysis, and assuming the virus doesn’t continue to mutate, we would expect that COVID-19 will diminish considerably in affected areas (above the 30-degree N”) in the coming months, however, the virus could survive at low levels in tropical regions and begin to rise again in the late fall and winter in temperate regions in the upcoming year. We will continue to monitor closely and provide real-time updates as developments and information warrant.”

“Based on what we have documented so far, it appears that the virus has a harder time spreading between people in warmer, tropical climates,” said study leader Mohammad Sajadi, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the IHV in UMSOM and a member of GVN. “That suggests once average temperatures rise above 12 degrees Celsius and higher (54 degree Fahrenheit and higher), the virus may be harder to transmit, but this is still a hypothesis that requires more data.”

The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has reached pandemic level, with a major impact on national health systems, economics and population behaviors.  Delineating and understanding the future of the pandemic expansion and geographical areas affected has important consequences in preparation and impacting the viral dissemination.  The GVN is committed to advancing knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as to catalyze and facilitate the development of drugs, therapeutics, treatments and vaccines to combat them.  For more information on the GVN, please visit: www.gvn.org.

# # #

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 53 Centers of Excellence and nine Affiliates in 32 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

MEDIA CONTACT
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-1966
nsamaranayake@gvn.org

Global Virus Network (GVN) Coordinates Efforts Between Top International Experts Researching COVID-19

The GVN Is Connecting Academia, Governments, Public Health Organizations and Industry to Advance the Response for COVID-19 and Prepare for the Next Outbreak

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, February 18, 2020:  The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 53 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, is holding regular strategic discussions with its members regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China this past December.  The GVN, among other critical tasks, is forming subcommittees to make scientific recommendations requested of the network.

“GVN is serving as an information hub, not just for its Centers and Affiliates, but for public health entities and some industry leaders,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, and a Professor at the University of South Florida.  “We will be providing recommendations and suggested guidelines for researching COVID-19 in laboratories worldwide, while working with organizations such as the China CDC and Africa CDC as well as companies with scientifically-proven products for testing.”

COVID-19 has spread to other global regions, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.  As of Tuesday morning, February 18, there are more than 73,000 infected around the world and at least 1,873 dead, including five deaths outside of mainland China.  The numbers are likely higher.

“We have one of twelve antibodies against MERS and have submitted a grant to the European Union (EU) to study cross-reactivity and advance a SARS-2/coronavirus vaccine candidate,” said Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director of The Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonosis (RIZ) at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, a Center Director of the GVN, and CEO of Artemis One Health Foundation, Germany.  “At the EVAg meeting I am attending now, we are sharing information about an EU repository for the virus and we look forward to extending accessibility of the virus worldwide.”

“We have been involved in setting up the first diagnostics and helping countries establish this for case finding, as the most urgent need,” said Marion Koopmans, DVM, PhD, Head of the Department of Virosciences of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Netherlands, who is director of its GVN Center of Excellence, and a worldwide reference in zoonotic viral diseases and emerging viruses.  “With an EU network of more than 800 hospitals, we are preparing for observational studies and clinical trials, so that we may start enrolling patients if the outbreak grows further outside of China.  Our research agenda includes addressing some key questions about risk factors and studying pathogenesis and immune response in the European population.  Further, we have an interesting reference database of data and samples from patients with different human coronaviruses from previous years, coupled with animal infection experiments to study pathogenesis and transmissibility of the new coronavirus. Lastly, our animal work also involves vaccine evaluation and therapeutic antibody studies.”

Dr. Koopmans attended the recent World Health Organization (WHO) meeting convened last week to address COVID-19.  This was the second time that the WHO convened scientists from across the globe to receive guidance from the scientific community during an acute outbreak. The meeting identified essential knowledge gaps and existing, ongoing research. Part of the meeting was dedicated to defining key priorities, which will be presented to a consortium of funders. As scientific advisor of both the WHO R&D Blueprint and GLOPID-R, Dr. Koopmans notes, “it is fascinating to see how these new coordination mechanisms work. Compared with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the response has been much faster, and prepared through the WHO Blueprint. It now is up to the scientific community to listen to the research needs, seek collaboration and share essential data immediately.”

“We are working with the GVN and Dr. Stacey Schultz-Cherry of St. Jude to submit a grant to the U.S. National Institutes of Health to focus on an animal model study of COVID-19,” said Elodie Ghedin, PhD, Professor of Biology and Global Public Health at New York University.  “In collaboration with Dr. Michael Schatz at Johns Hopkins, we have also contributed to developing a new virus genomic sequence assembly application (iGenomics) that can be used with an iPhone in the field.”

“We are working on several projects, including a proposal from the EU Commission on animal model testing for antivirals in addition to projects with the government of Spain,” said Joaquim Segalés, DVM, PhD, Researcher from the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Spain,a GVN Center of Excellence.

“We continue to distribute virus samples internationally and are working to identify the structure of the virus and further genome sequencing,” said Mike Catton, MB BS, FRCPA, Deputy Director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia and Member of the GVN.  “We look forward to hearing from GVN’s specialized subcommittee on BSL-3 versus BSL-4 laboratory testing for COVID-19.”

“Singapore is receiving many requests for virus isolates, and we are looking to our GVN colleagues to advise on how best to prioritize distribution,” said Linfa Wang, PhD, Director of the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School and a Center Director of the GVN, Singapore.

“We have researchers at the UB GVN Center of Excellence and UB – Roswell Park Drug Development Center with expertise in identifying potential drugs using target molecules and ‘repurposing’ software simulation approaches. Our GVN center can also develop and validate antiviral drug assays and collaborate with industry for bioanalysis and pharmacokinetics of investigational antivirals. The UB GVN Center also has Affiliate Centers in Zimbabwe and Jamaica that can contribute to evaluation of innovative early warning technologies for COVID-19 infection in their regions,” said Gene Morse, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of the Translational Pharmacology Research Core and UB’s Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences as well as a GVN Center Director.

“Our lab is actively working on COVID-19 researching antiviral screening, monoclonal antibody screening, and vaccine testing, in both cells and mice,” said Mathew Frieman, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Affiliate Member of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “We have an infectious clone that we hope will be recovered this week in the BSL-3, and then we will be making mutants across many genes in the clone to advance the study of COVID-19.”

“RKI is currently supplying our international partners with coronavirus diagnostics, mainly PCR primers, probes and controls, but also other supplies, if needed,” said Heinz Ellerbrok, PhD, Deputy Head of the Highly Infectious Diseases Unit at the Robert Koch Institute, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “We have started with shipment of PCR sets to Nigeria CDC on the 6th of February. In the meantime, RKI has supported, or is in the process of supporting, 13 partner institutions in 10 different countries, mainly in Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, and also countries like Sri Lanka and Yemen.”

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-8614
nsamaranayake@gvn.org

Global Virus Network (GVN) Convenes Discussions with International Top Experts to Combat Growing Novel Coronavirus Epidemic

The GVN Is Bridging Gaps in the Global Emergency Response and Serving as a “Go-To” Resource for Members Needing Assistance in Obtaining and Disseminating Cutting-Edge Scientific Research

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, February 6, 2020:  The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 53 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, is holding regular strategic discussions with its members regarding the growing novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which originated in Wuhan, China this past December.  The GVN has identified areas to support its Centers and work with international organizations addressing the growing epidemic.

“GVN Centers of Excellence and Affiliates, with strong working relationships among them, are poised to engage in any outbreak situation by providing the world’s only network of top basic virologists from around the globe covering all classes of human viral threats,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, and a Professor at the University of South Florida.  “Many members of the GVN are initiating various projects regarding diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics to combat this rapidly expanding, novel, outbreak.  However, there are still resource needs and information gaps that need to be filled, and GVN is helping to serve as that important resource. In particular, we have engaged GVN Africa to foster collaborations on diagnostics and other important resource needs.”

“We are organizing a workshop for the diagnosis of 2019-nCoV in Dakar for 15 countries in a joint partnership with Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in collaboration with the World Health Regional Office for Africa and the West African Health Organization before the epidemic arrives,” said Amadou Alpha Sall, PhD, General Administrator, Institut Pasteur in Dakar, the region’s top biomedical research facility, and Member, Global Virus Network (GVN).  “We are contributing to build ‘the Africa We Want’ in 2063 Africa agenda, while making sure that we anticipate the threat rather than reacting to it.  This is a new model of work for Africa under the leadership of Africa CDC catalyzed by Ebola and other outbreaks that may change the public health practice in Africa in the coming years.”

2019-nCoV has spread to other global regions, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.  As of Thursday morning, February 6, there are over 28,000 infected and more than 560 dead, while the rest of the world reports more than 260 confirmed cases and two deaths outside of mainland China.  The numbers are likely higher.

On January 29, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a GVN Center of Excellence, in Melbourne announced that, for the first time outside of China, they successfully grew 2019-nCoV from a patient sample in the laboratory and were the first to share the virus with public health laboratories globally and the World Health Organization (WHO). This provides those laboratories, including those within the GVN, with crucial information to help combat the virus.

Mike Catton, MB BS, FRCPA, Deputy Director of the Doherty Institute and Member of the GVN, said that possession of a virus isolate extended what could be achieved with molecular technology in the fight against this virus.

The Doherty Institute-grown virus is expected to be used to generate an antibody test, among other uses, which allows detection of the virus in patients who haven’t displayed symptoms and were therefore unaware they had the virus.

“An antibody test will enable us to retrospectively test suspected patients so we can gather a more accurate picture of how widespread the virus is, and consequently, among other things, the true mortality rate,” said Dr. Catton.

On January 23, after Chinese researchers published the sequence of 2019-nCoV, a GVN partner, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), announced that it will fund three vaccine initiatives with $12.5 million, including GVN Center of Excellence, the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centere at the University of Queensland (UQ). Further, on February 3, CEPI and GSK announced that GSK will make its established pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to enhance the development of an effective vaccine against 2019-nCoV. Adjuvants are added to a vaccine to boost the immune response to produce more antibodies and longer-lasting immunity, thus minimizing the dose of antigen needed.

“The University of Queensland’s ‘molecular clamp technology’ provides stability to the viral protein that is the primary target for our immune defense,” said Paul Young, PhD, Head of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at UQ, Australia and Member of the GVN.  “The technology has been designed as a platform approach to generate vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses and has shown promising results in the laboratory targeting viruses such as influenza, Ebola, Nipah and MERS coronavirus. The availability of the GSK adjuvant will enable us to carry out important pre-clinical experiments designed to assess vaccine effectiveness.”

Other GVN researchers are sourcing their MERS and SARS coronavirus expertise to advance vaccine development for this new outbreak. “With our experience and novel contributions to the MERS and SARS outbreaks as well as the deadly zoonosis influenza viruses, H7N7 and H5N1, we are working to develop a vaccine against this new, novel coronavirus,” said Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director of the The Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonosis (RIZ) at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, a Center Director of the GVN, and CEO of Artemis One Health Foundation, Germany. “Specifically, we are poised to study T-Cell and IgM antibody response using our expertise in animal models.”

Linfa Wang, PhD, Director of the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School and a Center Director of the GVN, Singapore, is developing diagnostics for 2019-nCoV with collaborators in China. Dr.  Wang, who sequenced and named Australia’s bat-borne Hendra virus more than 25 years ago, has obtained multiple isolates of the virus, and is focused on studying serology and cross-reactivity and contamination on diagnostics. Dr. Wang believes the deadly new coronavirus “appears to be more infectious than the 2003 SARS coronavirus.”  Further he warns, “Despite the possibility for criticisms of an overreaction, it is imperative that we act quickly and effectively, as the alternative of an underreaction could potentially lead to more deaths worldwide.”

“We are funneling resources towards this new novel virus research on animal infection, transmission and reservoirs,” said Joaquim Segalés, DVM, PhD, Researcher from the Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Spain and a Center Director of the GVN.  “We also have a number of reagents against MERS available, and are waiting to receive isolates of the virus, hopefully from our GVN colleagues.”

“Our GVN colleagues in Melbourne at the Doherty Institute are shipping a sample of this new novel virus as we speak,” said Johan Neyts, PhD, Professor of Virology, Rega Institute for Medical Research at the University of Leuven and a Center Director of the GVN.  “We are developing a dual yellow fever/2019-nCoV using our revolutionary Plasmid Launched Live Attenuated Virus (PLAV) technology based. We managed recently to do the same with yellow fever and other viruses such as Lassa and rabies.  Further, using our fully automated high biosafety laboratory, we are leading an intensive research effort to develop therapeutics against 2019-nCoV.”

“The GVN wishes to help and collaborate with other scientists globally, and especially to include the China GVN and China CDC, whose scientists, under the leadership of Dr. George F. Gao, have made important initial contributions to the genomic characterization and epidemiology of this deadly virus,” said Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the GVN.  Dr. Gallo is also The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions.  It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 53 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them.  No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-8614
nsamaranayake@gvn.org

Global Virus Network (GVN) Experts Combat New Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak

GVN stands by China and relevant international organizations to support efforts to mitigate the new strain of coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, January 30, 2020: As airlines suspend flights, countries evacuate citizens from China and nearly 60 million Chinese experience a lockdown, the Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 53 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, will stand by China and relevant international organizations to support efforts to mitigate the new strain of coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, originating from Wuhan, China. The outbreak, which causes respiratory illness, originated in a seafood and meat market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million, and likely jumped to humans from bats. 2019-nCoV has spread to other global regions, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, United States and Vietnam. As of Thursday, January 30, 6:00 AM ET according to Chinese authorities there are nearly 8,000 infected and 170 dead, while the rest of the world reports more than 110 confirmed cases outside of China.

“Many members of the GVN are initiating various projects regarding diagnostics, vaccine and therapeutics to combat this rapidly expanding, novel, outbreak,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, and a Professor at the University of South Florida. “We support current organizations such as the World Health Organization and stand ready to serve as global first-responders to this dangerous virus and operate as an international clearinghouse to educate, inform and disseminate critical information to governments, health organizations, healthcare practitioners and the public-at-large.”

On January 23, after Chinese researchers published the sequence of 2019-nCoV, a GVN partner, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), announced that it will fund three vaccine initiatives with $12.5 million. One of those recipients includes GVN Center of Excellence, the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centere at the University of Queensland (UQ).

“The University of Queensland’s molecular clamp technology provides stability to the viral protein that is the primary target for our immune defense,” said Keith Chappell, PhD, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at UQ, Australia. “The technology has been designed as a platform approach to generate vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses and has shown promising results in the laboratory targeting viruses such as influenza, Ebola, Nipah and MERS coronavirus.”

Other GVN researchers are sourcing their MERS and SARS coronavirus expertise to advance vaccine development for this new outbreak. “With our experience and novel contributions to the MERS and SARS outbreaks as well as the deadly zoonosis influenza viruses, H7N7 and H5N1, we are working to develop a vaccine against this new, novel coronavirus,” said Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director, The Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonosis (RIZ), University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, Center Director, Global Virus Network (GVN) CEO, Artemis One Health Foundation, Germany.

Linfa Wang, PhD, Director, Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, Center Director, Global Virus Network (GVN), Singapore, is developing diagnostics for 2019-nCoV with collaborators in China. Dr. Wang, who sequenced and named Australia’s bat-borne Hendra virus more than 25 years ago, believes the deadly new coronavirus “appears to be more infectious than the 2003 SARS coronavirus.” Further he warns, “Despite the possibility for criticisms of an overreaction, it is imperative that we act quickly and effectively, as the alternative of an underreaction could potentially lead to more deaths worldwide.”

“The use of human ACE2 2019-nCoV is now confirmed by multiple actual viral isolates from the laboratory of Zhengli Shi, PhD, who is the director of center for infectious disease at Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and who was responsible for identifying many of the bat SARS-like CoV in the past ten years,” said Benhur Lee, MD, Professor of Microbiology, Member, Global Virus Network (GVN), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA. “I believe that all symptomatic people with or without cough is potentially contagious with this new novel virus as Shi’s research shows virus-specific IgM being detected in patients one week post-symptoms onset; the finding that most patients have neutralizing IgG+ antibodies by two weeks post-symptoms; patients as having cough/chest congestion with high virial loads; and, one 2019-nCoV virus positive patient as having fever as the only symptom.”

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions.  It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 53 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them.  No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-8614
nsamaranayake@gvn.org

Six Internationally Renowned Virus Research Institutions Join the Global Virus Network to Combat Viral Diseases

GVN Adds Four Centers of Excellence and Two Affiliates from India, Peru, Republic of Uzbekistan, South Korea, United States and Zimbabwe

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, October 24, 2019: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 52 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and animals, announced today the addition of four new Centers of Excellence including, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (An Institution of eminence deemed to be University), The Tropical Medicine Institute “Alexander von Humboldt” of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the Korea National Institute of Health’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and two Affiliates, the Research Institute of Virology Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Antiviral Pharmacology Laboratory and Clinical Trials Research Center Virology Program at the University of Zimbabwe. The announcement was made by Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN and Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the GVN.

“The GVN continues to serve as a catalyst uniquely connecting top virus research institutions from around the world to build collaborative, effective alliances and eradicate viral threats. In fact, these six Centers and Affiliates perfectly illustrate this concept, combining Centers with highly complementary skills, from all over the world,” said Bréchot, who is also Professor at the University of South Florida. “We support current organizations such as the World Health Organization and stand ready to serve as global first-responders to dangerous viruses and operate as an international clearinghouse to educate, inform and disseminate critical information to governments, health organizations, healthcare practitioners and the public-at-large.”

“Since HIV/AIDS first appeared, I strongly have believed mankind will best be served if the world’s leading virologists are organized and better equipped to deal with existing and new viral threats,” said Gallo, who is also The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “These diverse new members of the GVN add depth of expertise and global reach to our network. They will help us better combat viral threats and train the next generation of virologists.”

The Manipal Institute of Virology (MIV) GVN Center of Excellence is led by Arunkumar Govindakarnavar, PhD, MSc, BSc, Professor and Director, MIV, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). MIV is a regional center for diagnostic virology and research, and the regional reference laboratory for Influenza viruses and an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Grade I Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) supported by the Department of Health Research (DHR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) Apex referral laboratory for arboviruses, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and Government of India (GOI). Apart from disease diagnostics, MIV supports the state and national health services for outbreak investigations. MIV has established 33 surveillance centers in hospitals across 16 districts of 10 states capable of detecting and responding to viruses and bacteria.

“MIV was instrumental in confirming more than 150 viral outbreaks, and closely involved in outbreaks including the Nipah virus, Zika virus, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, Hepatitis A virus and Kyasanur Forest Disease,” said Arunkumar. “We look forward to sharing our experiences with the GVN and launching new collaborations to advance the field in our area of expertise in virology.”

The Tropical Medicine Institute “Alexander von Humboldt” of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia GVN Center of Excellence is led by Eduardo Gotuzzo, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FESCMID, Emeritus Professor, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. The Institute is multidisciplinary, specializing in infectious and tropical diseases, with global leadership that conducts research, innovates and diversifies, and promotes public policies and technology transfer contributing to Peru’s development. The Institute specializes in HTLV and its clinical complications, HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral drug therapy, human rhinovirus, hepatitis B and some C viruses, and arboviruses such as Zika virus.

“We have a large HTLV patient cohort and are the country’s most experienced in treating patients with HIV/AIDS, which unfortunately continues to grow due to the significant migration of people from Venezuela,” said Gotuzzo. “The GVN will provide a unique opportunity to advance our studies and international collaborations as well as unique training opportunities.”

The Korea National Institute of Health’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research GVN Center of Excellence is led by Youngmee Jee MD, PhD, Director, Center for Infectious Diseases Research (CID), Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH). KNIH is the only national public health research institution to produce scientific evidence to shape public health policies. The CID, one of three research centers at KNIH, is responsible for research on infectious diseases caused by viral and bacterial pathogens with four primary goals: (1) to enhance the national capacity responding to infectious disease threats, (2) to efficiently control emerging and acute/chronic infectious diseases, (3) to explore infectious diseases affecting human health in relation to climate change, (4) to establish national and international networks through collaborative studies on infectious diseases, and (5) to collect and manage human pathogen resources in Korea.

“I participated in the GVN’s international meeting last June in Barcelona and found the sessions and shared expertise very valuable,” said Jee. “Our broad experience with various global research intuitions such as the World Health Organization and fellow Korean GVN Center of Excellence, the International Vaccine Institute, will deepen GVN’s expertise and advance basic and applied research on emerging viruses and acute and chronic viruses through new collaborations with GVN members.”

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University GVN Center of Excellence is led by Founding Director Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School, Senior Associate in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Wyss Institute leverages recent insights into how nature builds, controls and manufactures to develop new engineering innovations – a new field of research the Institute refers to as Biologically Inspired Engineering. By emulating biological principles of self-assembly, organization and regulation, the Institute is developing disruptive technology solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics and manufacturing, which are translated into commercial products and therapies through the formation of new startups and corporate alliances. The Institute’s unique Organ-on-a-Chip (Organ Chip) technology enables modeling of human tissues with in vivo-like architectures and physiologies to study viral infection, propagation, evolution, patient-to-patient transmission and host responses in vitro. Wyss Institute researchers are leveraging human Organ Chips and a variety of its other core technologies in a highly multi-disciplinary approach to create rapid, sensitive, and highly specific diagnostics for detection of viruses, broad spectrum anti-virus vaccines, new antiviral therapeutics, novel drug- and gene-delivering viral vectors, and, culture-free viral infectivity assays.

“We offer the GVN a truly unique skill set in bioengineering and technology innovation that will nicely complement the more classic virology focus of most other members of the network, as well as numerous powerful enabling technologies that GVN members should find extremely useful,” said Ingber. “We look forward to the GVN helping us to identify relevant funding opportunities and sources of clinical samples, and to team with us to build stronger consortia around specific problems, and if possible, to provide support for fellows and trainees.”

The Research Institute of Virology Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is led by Musabaev Erkin Isakovich, PhD, Professor, Research Institute of Virology of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is an Affiliate through GVN Centers of Excellence, Istituto Nazionale Tumori “Fondazione Pascale” National Cancer Institute, Russian Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza (SRII) and Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The Institute comprises a laboratory of new and re-emerging viral infections (in the structure of National Influenza Center), a reference laboratory, scientific departments, department of molecular-genetic analysis and cultural research, an international department, in-patient department (hospital), including 200 beds to treat infectious disease patients, laboratory-diagnostic and auxiliary departments and rooms and an ambulatory-out-patient diagnostical hepatology center. The Institute’s expertise includes viral hepatitis, liver cirrhosis with viral etiology, HIV/AIDS, new and re-emerging infections, influenza, and intestinal infections.

“We are pleased to join with three renowned GVN Centers of Excellence to become an Affiliate member of the GVN,” said Isakovich. “The GVN will provide opportunities in information sharing and collaborations on research, grants, projects and training initiatives, particularly in the area of scientific exchanges between fellows.”

The Antiviral Pharmacology Laboratory and Clinical Trials Research Center Virology Program at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), which is led by Charles Chiedza Maponga, PharmD, MHPE, Director, GVN Affiliate at UZ and Justen Manasa, PhD, Co-Director, Virology, Genetics, is an Affiliate through GVN Center of Excellence, University at Buffalo HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory. UZ is home to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Clinical Trials Unit that conducts research with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) HIV Research networks including the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), International Maternal Pediatric and Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) and Microbial Trials Network (MTN). In addition, UZ has a NIAID HIV Clinical Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory. Research priorities include HIV, HCV, HPV and other global virus research agendas. The Antiviral Pharmacology Laboratory is home to a Fogarty-supported HIV Clinical Pharmacology Research Program that is conducted in collaboration with the University at Buffalo. As the HIV/AIDS epidemic has continued to impact developing countries, the need for training in HIV/AIDS Clinical Pharmacology has also expanded in scope, including in clinical expertise such as cancer, behavioral sciences, Alzheimer’s disease, nanomedicine and pediatrics.

“We have a productive collaboration with the GVN Center of Excellence University of Buffalo HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory and are thrilled to grow our relationship into the GVN as an Affiliate,” said Maponga and Manasa. “Not only do we have a regional capacity to substantively contribute to global research through the GVN, but we welcome training exchange programs that expand our breadth of expertise.”

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions.  It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 52 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 32 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them.  No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:

Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-8614
nsamaranayake@gvn.org

GLOBAL VIRUS NETWORK HOSTS SIXTH SHORT COURSE

Top GVN Experts Inspire Rising International Virologists

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 29, 2019: The Global Virus Network (GVN) earlier this month held its 6th Annual Short Course in Basic and Translational Virology on July 28-August 3 for 18 early-career human and animal virologists from Argentina, Bolivia, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, South Korea and United States of America. The preeminent one-week course on basic, translational and clinical aspects of viruses featured world-renowned researchers drawn from GVN Centers of Excellence, encompassing 51 Centers of Excellence and nine affiliates in 30 countries and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals. The Short Course is designed to counter a declining number of researchers entering the field of human and animal virology.

The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor, GVN and Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President, GVN.

“The annual GVN Short Course is a unique opportunity I wish I had when I was new to the field,” said Gallo, who is also The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV), University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Scientific research challenges, such as developing an effective preventive HIV vaccine candidate, abound. It is incumbent upon my colleagues and I to cultivate an environment to advance and train burgeoning medical virologists, and to prepare them to take collective responsibility for current and future viral threats.”

“This year’s agenda included presentations from GVN experts in hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, human T-cell leukemia virus, human immunodeficiency virus, measles, arboviruses, Ebola, Lassa fever, bioinformatics, influenza, human papilloma viruses, polio and other enteroviruses, bio-surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, antiviral drug discovery, laboratory diagnostics, vaccine development and One Health,” said Bréchot. “Participants visited GVN Centers of Excellence at the IHV and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where they received an insectary tour. They also visited the National Institutes of Health for a tour of the National Library of Medicine and to hear presentations from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Fogarty International Research Center.”

At the end of the annual course, participants elect a fellow participant as the “next emerging leader in virology” based on leadership and expertise. This year’s nominee, who will return next year as a speaker, is Matilu Mwau, MB, ChB, MTM, DPhil, Chief Research Officer, Kenya Medical Research Institute. Past nominees include Florian Krammer, PhD (2014), Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA; Christina Gavegnano, PhD (2015), Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, USA; Miguel Garcia-Knight, PhD (2016), Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Microbiológicas, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico; Yuki Furuse, MD, PhD (2017), Assistant Professor at the Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences at Kyoto University, Japan; and, Elysse Grossi-Soyster, MS, (2018) Laboratory Manager & Researcher, LaBeaud Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine.

“The GVN Annual Short Course is intense and comprehensive,” said Mwau. “We were trained by renowned experts including, Drs. Robert Gallo and Scott Weaver, on the most important emerging and reemerging viral diseases. By the end of the course, I had already decided that my infectious diseases research interests must be adjusted to capture these realities.”

“The GVN short course is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from the experts who have generated much of the cutting edge research that forms the basis of our understanding of viral outbreaks causing the worst diseases in the world today,” said Allison Totura, PhD, a participant of this year’s course and ORISE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Viral Pathogenesis Branch, Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. “To be able to gain the perspective of collective leaders in the many aspects of medical virology on where the field stands as well as where it is going is an unparalleled resource to early career scientists. Although I have a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, this course helped to fill gaps in my didactic training that can only be provided by the best of the best in the fields of basic and translational science. One of the greatest benefits of the course is the connections made with virologists studying similar pathogens, as the GVN works to link virologists around the globe who have similar interests, but might not otherwise connect with each other.”*

This year’s GVN Short Course speakers, in addition to Gallo and Bréchot, among others, included: Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, Associate Director for Research, Office of Vaccines Research and Review, U.S. Federal Drug Administration; José Esparza MD, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, IHV and formerly of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization; Genoveffa Franchini, MD, Senior Investigator, Vaccine Branch, Head, Animal Models and Retroviral Vaccines Section, National Cancer Institute, NIH; Robert Garry, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Associate Dean for the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, Tulane Medical School; Diane Griffin MD, PhD, University Distinguished Service Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; RADM Peter Kilmarx, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Deputy Director, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH); Shyam Kottilil, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Director, Division of Clinical Care and Research, IHV; Christopher Kratochvil, MD, Professor, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Chief Medical Officer, UNeHealth, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Mary Marovich, MD, Director, Vaccine Research Program, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH; Gene Morse, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, SUNY Distinguished Professor, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, Co-Director of the SUNY Global Health Institute, University at Buffalo; Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director, Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses, Professor, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, CEO, Artemis One Health Foundation; Manizhe Payton, MPH, Director, Office of Clinical Site Oversight, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH; Richard H. Scheuermann, PhD, Director, La Jolla Campus. J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI); and, Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Human Infections and Immunity, John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Biodefense, Scientific Director, Galveston National Laboratory, The University of Texas Medical Branch.

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 human and animal 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 will host its 12th International meeting in Colombia, Medellin, September 13-15, 2020.

*The information contained in this press release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading human and animal virologists from 30 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-8614
nsamaranayake@gvn.org