GLOBAL VIRUS NETWORK AND ABBOTT LAUNCH PANDEMIC DEFENSE POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The partnership is training the next generation of virologists to combat future pandemic threats, with a focus on pathogen discovery in developing nations

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, April 6, 2022 – The Global Virus Network (“GVN”), the world’s leading coalition of virologists combatting current and emerging pandemic viral threats, and Abbott, the global healthcare company, announce the GVN – Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aimed at building the pipeline of virus hunters to improve pandemic preparedness and health security across the world.

The program will provide the latest scientific training in new pathogen discovery, genomic sequencing, and laboratory analysis led by leading virologists and clinicians from across GVN’s 68 centers of excellence and affiliates in 36 countries.

To prepare for the next pandemic, the world needs more virologists. Within a few decades, Duke’s Global Health Institute estimates that novel disease outbreaks will likely increase three-fold, driven by globalization, population growth and closer contact between humans and animals. The WHO recommends a global ratio of one field epidemiologist for every 200,000 people. Only a fraction of countries have met that goal.[1]

“SARS-CoV-2 highlights the importance of funding science and the next generation of virologists in an effort to stay ahead of deadly pandemics,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN. “We are pleased to join Abbott to ensure these scientists receive topflight training in the identification of unknown diseases through surveillance, viral genomic sequencing analysis and bioinformatics. Further, we look forward to building research capacity around the world, especially in developing nations.”

Building scientific capability to stay ahead of viral threats

Last year, Abbott established the Pandemic Defense Coalition, the first-of-its-kind, industry-led, global scientific network dedicated to the early detection of, and rapid response to, future pandemic threats. The Coalition comprises 14 entities, including networks, governments, and public health organizations on five continents that are actively identifying, analyzing, tracking and testing viral threats.

“Our world is more connected than ever so a viral threat somewhere is a viral threat everywhere,” said Gavin Cloherty, PhD, head of Infectious Disease Research and the Pandemic Defense Coalition, Abbott. “That’s why it is so important to start training the next generation of virus hunters and public health experts in every corner of the world to raise our pandemic defenses to stay ahead of both known and unknown pathogens.”

The Fellowship will support one-year post-doctoral training fellowship for applicants with a MD, PhD, or DVM degree(s) with the potential to extend to a two-year program.  GVN centers of excellence and affiliates will host participants who will complete a comprehensive laboratory training to develop skills and contacts within GVN’s international community of medical virologists.  They will also master the skills of identifying new pathogens and increasing research capacity.

“Fellowships such as these are integral in helping developing nations build their capacity to prevent and prepare for future pandemics,” said Christine Carrington, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, a GVN Affiliate, and a member of GVN’s Emerging Pathogens Discovery Network Watch Group.  “GVN’s resources are truly a global asset, particularly as it relates to expanding the skill sets of emerging medical virologists through elite cross-training opportunities at GVN’s centers of excellence and affiliates.”

Collaborating across private-public partnerships to benefit world health

The GVN is a global authority and resource for viral diseases posing threats to mankind.  It enhances the world’s ability to address viral threats and delivers scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in human and animal virology. The GVN serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

“One of the core reasons my colleagues and I founded the GVN was to cultivate an environment to advance and train researchers, and to prepare them to take collective responsibility for current and future viral threats,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor of the GVN.  “We are pleased that Abbott shares this mission to improving public health equity and safeguarding our future generations through the latest education and training opportunities.”

For more information on GVN’s Fellowship Programs, please contact [email protected]

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, existing 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 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 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
[email protected]

[1] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/hs.2019.0119

‘LIVE’ POLIO VACCINE FIRES UP IMMUNE SYSTEM PROVIDING PROTECTION FROM SARS-CoV-2 INFECTION

Global Virus Network (GVN) studies suggest that the oral polio vaccine can protect people in developing nations that do not yet have access to COVID vaccines

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 31, 2022: Two new studies from the Global Virus Network (GVN) in partnership with the Petroleum Industry Health Organization of Iran provide evidence that getting the oral polio vaccine made from live, weakened poliovirus may protect people from COVID-19 infection by stimulating the immune system.

One of these studies demonstrated a lower incidence of COVID infections in countries in which people received the ‘live’ polio vaccine compared to countries that only received the polio vaccine that does not contain a live virus. These findings were published on March 17, 2022, in PLOS One.

Another report from the research team showed that when young children received the ‘live’ polio vaccine their mothers, who were indirectly exposed to the poliovirus vaccine, did not get infected with COVID. This study was published late last year in JAMA Network Open.

Within a few hours of exposure to any pathogens — including weakened viruses like those in the oral polio vaccine —, the immune system activates its first line-of-defense. This defense produces an immune response to a broad variety of pathogen-related molecules and ramps up the immune system’s readiness for invaders: a process sometimes called ‘trained innate immunity.’ The outcome from one of these newest studies indicate that this trained innate immune response spurred by vaccination using the live poliovirus may provide protection for up to 6 months against COVID infection.

The researchers say that this implies that these live vaccines, technically known as live attenuated vaccines, may be used temporarily to protect people in low-income countries that do not yet have access to COVID vaccines.

“Although countries like the U.S. and those in Europe are dropping pandemic restrictions, many people in lower income countries remain unvaccinated due to lack of supply. Individuals in these countries are still at high risk for COVID infection and potential complications, particularly since these regions still lack the latest treatments and enough ventilators for those who need them,” said co-author Shyam Kottilil, MBBS, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research, Institute of Human Virology, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and senior advisor to the GVN. “These live vaccines may provide a stop gap to reduce hospitalizations and deaths until we can get these people COVID vaccines.”

Senior author on the studies Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder of the GVN and Chair of the GVN’s Scientific Leadership Board, said, “Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to development of effective vaccines we proposed using live attenuated vaccines as a temporary solution to boost immunity until the vaccine could be developed. This idea directly stemmed from my GVN colleague and co-author Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, whose parents were vaccine researchers in the 1970s Soviet Union. His parents observed that flu rates seemed to drop in those people given the oral polio vaccine. Other GVN colleagues joined us in advocating for studies to determine if these live attenuated vaccines would be a feasible strategy during the coronavirus pandemic. Now we have some of the first evidence that they do offer protection. I hope funders take notice and increase support for these types of trials that study the innate immune response and provide significant hope in mitigating future pandemics.”

Co-author Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, a GVN Center of Excellence Director, said, “These observations are yet another confirmation that live vaccines induce broad protection against infections caused by pathogens other than their direct target. They urgently call for the direct prospective clinical studies of this phenomenon that could lead to the development of a novel class of vaccines based on stimulation of trained innate immunity. Such vaccines could become the badly needed universal countermeasure against emerging infections.”

“The GVN serves as a catalyst to bring together the world’s foremost virologists,” Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters. “We are pleased to work with varying nations to initiate these important clinical trials.”

In the PLOS One study, the researchers compared infection rates per 100,000 people in 146 countries that received both the live and the injectable polio vaccine, which does not contain live virus, compared to 56 countries that only used the injectable, non-live version. They found infection rates in countries that did not use the live polio vaccine were about three times higher than those that did use the live polio vaccine.

For the JAMA Network Open study, the researchers followed 419 mothers in Iran whose young children were given the live polio vaccine compared to 3,771 mothers whose children did not receive the live polio vaccine. None of the mothers whose children received the live polio vaccine developed COVID, whereas 28 mothers whose children did not receive the live polio vaccine did contract COVID within 9 months. Researchers know that poliovirus and even the weakened virus from the vaccine can be shed in the stool. The researchers surmise that the mothers were exposed to virus when caring for their children through bathing and diaper changing.

“It is heartening to find similar study results obtained from very different approaches strengthening our hypothesis that using the oral vaccine may provide protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID,” said the first author on the studies Farrokh Habibzadeh, MD, Special Consultant on Public Health for the GVN and the Managing Director of the Research & Development Unit of the Petroleum Industry Health Organization of Shiraz, Iran. He added that, “This hypothesis should be tested in additional quality clinical trials, preferably conducted in countries where the oral polio vaccine is currently in use as part of their national immunization for polio.”

Co-author Kristen Stafford, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and member of the GVN, said, “Some high-income countries declare pandemics over when in fact they just transition to only affecting low-income countries. We do not want this pandemic to become like the HIV-epidemic, where years and years of delays led to millions of excess deaths because the antiretroviral medications were too limited in supply or expensive to reach those disproportionately affected. We need to find simpler, inexpensive solutions to protect people until they can get their full doses and boosters of the COVID vaccines.”

One of the limitations of the live, weakened vaccines, is that they are not recommended for people with suppressed immune systems, as it could lead to infection.

“The important observations that the oral polio vaccine may protect against different infections such as COVID-19 is crucial for future pandemic preparedness. Understanding the mechanisms of protection induced by the oral polio vaccine and other live attenuated vaccines can open the door for the development of improved vaccination strategies to protect against broader infections, and thus provide partial protection against new pathogens during a pandemic until specific vaccines can be developed,” said Mihai Netea, MD, PhD of the Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center for Infectious Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, a GVN Center of Excellence, and GVN Center Director.

Additional authors on the studies include Mohammad Sajadi, MD, Professor of Medicine at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and member of the GVN; Mahboobeh Yadollahie, MD, Ashraf Simi, BScN, Saeid Saeidimehr, MD, (JAMA Network Open only), Mohammad Rafiei, MD, (JAMA Network Open only), and Iman Hafizi-Rastani, MSc (PLOS One only) of the Petroleum Industry Health Organization of Iran.

The authors received no specific funding for this work.

Dr. Kottilil received grants from Gilead for other research and serves on the advisory boards of Merck and Regeneron

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, existing 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 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 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 gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Global Virus Network Adds the Aegis Consortium as Newest Center of Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 23, 2022: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, and the Aegis Consortium at the University of Arizona Health Sciences announced today the induction of Aegis as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence.

“We are pleased to add the Aegis Consortium’s diverse experts from all corners of the human experience to develop pandemic solutions,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, who is President of the GVN and Professor at the University of South Florida.  “An immediate priority is to incorporate Aegis’ expertise on prolonged COVID-19 symptoms to identify risks contributing to post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as approaches for treatment and prevention.”

The Aegis Consortium is located within University of Arizona Health Sciences, an internationally recognized leader in biomedical research and one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the southwestern United States. UArizona Health Sciences includes the College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Nursing, R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and Health Sciences Global and Online. Located on campuses in Tucson, Phoenix and Gilbert, Arizona, UArizona Health Sciences reaches across Arizona, the Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research, clinical care and outreach. A major economic engine, UArizona Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners more than $220 million in research grants and contracts annually.  In 2021, the University of Arizona’s research and development expenditures ranked in the top 4% of all U.S. universities. The latest GVN Center is led by Janko Nikolich-Žugich, MD, PhD, Director, Aegis Consortium, College of Medicine – Tucson, Department Head and Professor, Immunobiology, and Co-Director, Arizona Center on Aging.

“We look forward to fostering deep relationships and interactions with other GVN members and remaining highly participative and engaged with GVN’s many pursuits to help mitigate and manage pandemics,” said, Dr. Nikolich-Žugich“Aegis is very much aligned with GVN, and we intend to openly share and collaborate among our many shared research interests.”

The Aegis Consortium’s strength in developing strategies is defined by three pillars including: Pandemic Control, Prediction and Preparedness; Post-Acute effects of Pandemics on Individuals and Societies; and Resilience of Built and Natural Environments in Pandemic Control.  As a major university and research institution, Aegis comprises the full complement of biomedical science disciplines as well as internationally recognized researchers, many of whom have developed “industry firsts” relative to pandemic surveillance, clinical investigations and COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Aegis is one of 15 designated centers in the U.S. to study the ongoing effects of Long COVID through the RECOVER study, funded by National Health Lung and Blood Institute on a multi-year basis.

“The GVN looks forward to collaborating with the Aegis Consortium to improve the global understanding of COVID-19 and develop strategies to improve the health of communities impacted by pandemics,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Director of the GVN.

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, existing 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 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 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
[email protected]

GVN Adds the Centre Scientifique de Monaco as Newest Member to Combat Viral Threats

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 22, 2022: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco (CSM) announced CSM as GVN’s newest Affiliate.

“Just last year, we co-hosted a significant international meeting with Monaco to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in developing nations, and focus on establishing innovative platforms for the diagnostics of key human pathogens and drive innovative public health strategies to monitor the efficacy of vaccines against COVID19,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.  “I look forward to working with the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and its partners in the Principality of Monaco to build global collaboration efforts to identify cutting-edge technologies, integrate the impact of environmental changes on biodiversity and nutrition and prepare for future pandemics.”

The CSM is historically involved in marine and polar biology research and has included human research over the last decade with several publications in the most prestigious journals such as the Nature series. In 2013, according to the will of Prince Albert II, CSM created The Department of Medical Biology to advance fundamental research programs such as the mechanisms of innate immunity involved in the defense against infections affecting invertebrates and humans, cell metabolism and abnormal proliferation of tumor cells.  The Department also develops translation studies designed to transmit laboratory data as quickly as possible for the benefit of patients suffering from cancer or muscular pathologies.  The team is dedicated to the management and financing of clinical research programs that contribute to the edifice of precision medicine, through the development of new therapeutic approaches with optimal efficacy.

The latest GVN Affiliate is led by Thomas Althaus, MD, MSc, DPhil, an infectious disease doctor specialized in public health and epidemiology, with an extensive experience of diagnostics in the context of developing nations.

“CSM looks forward to the exchange and synergy of scientific research projects with teams from the GVN,” said Dr. Althaus.  “While Monaco has its own national agenda, we aim to meet worldwide challenges like the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We see terrific potential for collaborations with GVN to improve diagnosis, treatment, prevention and surveillance of public health global threats.”

“We are pleased to add CSM to our growing international network as Monaco will be an important contributor to our European region, and overall network,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor of the GVN.

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, existing 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 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 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
[email protected]

GVN Announces Inaugural Participants of Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The three awardees will receive training and mentorship to help support and propel their rising careers in virology

BALTIMORE, MD, March 8, 2022: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of human and animal virologists from 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries, today announced the three inaugural members of the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.  This new program, funded by a private donor and Sanofi, was created to identify and support promising, postdoctoral researchers and engage them with top virology experts and cutting-edge research initiatives.

“GVN is a safety net against viral disease and is our best defense against current viral killers and those unknown on the horizon,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida, and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters. “We are so pleased to welcome our inaugural postdoctoral fellows to GVN’s elite training and mentoring program so that the global safety and preparedness network against viruses is strengthened.”

“Sanofi is committed to helping train the next generation of scientists and so was pleased to be able to sponsor a postdoctoral fellow as part of the GVN postdoctoral fellowship program,” said Jim Tartaglia, PhD, Vice-President R&D for vaccines, Sanofi.

“Throughout history, millions died and millions more were infected by pandemic viruses because governments and health authorities throughout the world were insufficiently prepared and unable to join forces in order to harness the collective knowledge, expertise, resources, and technologies necessary to effectively battle such viruses,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Director of the GVN. “Even in our current pandemic, we have seen mistakes that have cost lives unnecessarily.  We cannot permit this to happen again, either in our lifetime or in future generations, which is why my colleagues, and I formed the GVN to, among other important initiatives, highly train the next generation of virologists.”  

As the only coalition of its kind, the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers a rare opportunity for future virology leaders to collaborate with key researchers, medical practitioners and decision makers driving scientific, evidence-based solutions for some of today’s largest challenges in public health. The three awardees and the three hosting GVN Centers of Excellence for the inaugural cohort of the program include:

  • Rubaiyea (Ruby) Farrukee, PhD, (Australia), The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Australia, GVN Center of Excellence
  • Birendra Prasad Gupta, PhD, (Nepal), Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA, GVN Center of Excellence
  • William Marciel de Souza, PhD, (Brazil), Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, USA, GVN Center of Excellence

“I am really honoured to have received this amazing opportunity to build my career in virology,” said Rubaiyea (Ruby) Farrukee, PhD.  “This Fellowship will be pivotal in my pursuit of setting up an independent research program, with the aim of studying respiratory viruses within the context of innate immunity. I look forward to conducting some exciting science and increasing my collaboration with the GVN network”.

“The GVN has provided me the opportunity at the appropriate phase in my career to expand my portfolio in innovative research on viral disease and vaccine development,” said Birendra Prasad Gupta, PhD. “Recently, Nepal, and nations around the world, have experienced COVID-19’s harsh impact on every aspect of life. The pandemic alerted regulatory bodies to provide more resources in cutting-edge technology and to promote research through collaborative work.”

“I am excited by this exceptional opportunity to receive training in cutting-edge research in arbovirology and grantsmanship, and to expand my scientific expertise, and increase research collaborations with members of the GVN,” said William Marciel de Souza, PhD“This program will accelerate my research activities and support my pursuit towards an independent career in research, building my own group. After the GVN fellowship, I will apply for long-term support to sustain and conduct my own research line on arboviruses.”

Last year, GVN received a donation of US$1 million to support the GVN Academy, an initiative that fosters global collaboration by providing training and mentoring programs for rising junior virologists. With these funds, the organization launched the GVN Rising Star Program, which plans to mentor 15 scientists over the course of two years as well as connect each mentee with a GVN senior virologist who can help provide one-on-one research and career guidance, and the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which will train three postdoctoral researchers during a two-year term with the option to rotate among two GVN Centers of Excellence.  Sanofi provided funding for a third awardee to be trained under the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.  Participants of the program will also be invited to participate in exclusive GVN meetings and other professional development opportunities in virology.

We are very pleased and honored to host one of the inaugural fellows here at the University of Texas Medical Branch, one of the first GVN Centers of Excellence,” said Scott Weaver, PhD, the John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Infection and Immunity, Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Director, Institute for Human Infections & Immunity
Scientific Director, Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), and Director of its GVN Center of Excellence. “Bright, energetic young scientists like Dr. William Marciel de Souza, who bring a global orientation to new approaches for controlling emerging viral diseases, often catalyze the most effective international collaborations in the unique spirit of the GVN.”

“GVN is well positioned to enable those at the top of their field to mentor and train the next generations of virologists so that we can be more assured of a healthy future with a continuous adequate supply of responsible, highly-trained virologists,” said Sharon Lewin, AO, FRACP, PhD, FAAHMS, GVN Center Director and Director at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Australia, a GVN Center of Excellence, and evaluation committee member of the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

To learn more about the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, visit here.

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 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 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
443-823-0613
[email protected]

A Statement from the Global Virus Network on the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

BALTIMORE, MD, March 2, 2022The Global Virus Network (GVN) is an apolitical global organization comprised of the world’s leading scientists, including those from Russia and Ukraine, who specialize in education and research for the purpose of protecting mankind from viral proliferation and viruses that cause pandemics.  The scientists of the Global Virus Network collaborate to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by viral pathogens and to mitigate the threat they pose to mankind.

The members of the Global Virus Network are motivated by the fundamental tenet of medicine; “to do no harm” and are dedicated to honoring the sanctity of life irrespective of culture, ethnicity, nationality or race.  We are scientists, not politicians, but we are compelled to raise our voices in unison to protest the invasion and wanton destruction of Ukrainian cities and the savage killing of innocent civilians and members of the military who are defending their Homeland in the name of freedom and autonomy. They seek only peace. Mr. Putin, grant them peace. Mr. Putin, cease the armed hostilities immediately and enter into negotiations conducted in accord with respect for human life and dignity. We are committed to universal moral principles that govern the humane treatment of human beings and dictate the norms of civilized relations between nations.  The current invaders of Ukraine are not exempted from the unequivocal adherence to these principles, for all members of humanity, “are not islands separate and apart, but part of the main.”  Mr Putin, stop the aggression now!

In the spirit of interconnectedness, we urge the combatants to cease hostilities and engage in negotiations to peacefully resolve their armed conflict.  May this war in which the bitterest enmities have been invoked, be terminated with “malice toward none and justice for all.”  May the sacrifices and suffering already endured be an impetus for peace, and may our common humanity provide the moral imperative by which the sanctity of life and human dignity take precedence over the bristling antagonisms which provided an incitement to force.

Let peace not be cast as a victory or defeat for either side, but as a triumph of morality arrived at by ethical individuals acting on behalf of their respective nations.  When morality emerges as victorious, we can rest assured that mankind endures and prevails as the ultimate beneficiary.

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 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 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
443-823-0613
[email protected]

Global Virus Network (GVN) Adds the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) as Newest Member to Combat Viral Threats

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, February 8, 2021: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) in Durban announced the addition of CAPRISA as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence.

“CAPRISA is a world leader in HIV and SARS-CoV-2 research, positioned in an integral region to pandemics and virus surveillance, and led by a renowned clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognized for scientific and leadership contributions in AIDS and COVID-19,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.  “We are so pleased to finally officially add CAPRISA’s extensive expertise to the GVN.”

CAPRISA was created in 2001 and formally established in 2002 under the NIH-funded Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA) by five partner institutions; University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Columbia University in New York. CAPRISA is a designated UNAIDS Collaborating Centre for HIV Research and Policy; and is the South African Department of Science and Innovation and the National Research Foundation ‘s designated Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention.  The main goal of CAPRISA is to undertake globally relevant and locally responsive research that contributes to understanding HIV and SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention and treatment. CAPRISA conducts research in four main scientific programs namely: HIV and Covid-19 pathogenesis and vaccines; HIV and TB treatment; HIV epidemiology and prevention; and SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology, prevention and vaccines.

Research activities at CAPRISA are supported by eight support cores including, administration, statistics, data management, laboratory, community, pharmacy, bioethics, and information systems.

The fiduciary and policy oversight of CAPRISA is governed by the Board of Control with senior industry officials. The CAPRISA Scientific Advisory Board is chaired by Nobel Laureate, Professor Françoise BarréSinoussi, Emeritus Professor at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, which is also a GVN Center of Excellence.

Under the leadership of the GVN-CAPRISA Director, the newest GVN Center of Excellence is comprised of experienced senior researchers/investigators with deep expertise in three virus areas including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), SARS-CoV-2 and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). In addition, CAPRISA hosts an epidemic intelligence unit, led by senior statisticians, who support data analytics across all three areas. The latest GVN Center is led by Salim S. Abdool Karim, MD, PhD, FRS, is a South African clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognized for scientific contributions and leadership in AIDS and Covid-19.  He is the Director of CAPRISA, Durban and CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University, New York, Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, Boston, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Cornell University, New York, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. He is a member of the WHO Science Council and Vice-President of the International Science Council.  He is also a member of the African Task Force for Coronavirus and a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Covid-19. He was the Chair of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19.

“CAPRISA is a leading South African academic research center that is fully committed to collaborating with the GVN in HIV, HPV and SARS-CoV-2 research and training opportunities,” said Dr. Abdool Karim.  “We envision a mutually beneficial association with the GVN, including collaborations on researcher exchange programs, training of basic scientists in laboratory techniques at GVN supported laboratories and provisions of field experience in the conduct of clinical trials at CAPRISA, among other opportunities.”

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, existing 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 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 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
[email protected]

Global Virus Network (GVN) Adds the Scientific Platform Pasteur-University of São Paulo as Newest Member to Mitigate Viral Threats

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, January 26, 2022: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 67 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the Scientific Platform Pasteur-University of São Paulo (SPPU) announced the addition of the SPPU as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence.

“We are extremely pleased to bring Brazil back into the GVN through the distinguished SPPU,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, who is President of the GVN and Professor at the University of South Florida.  “We look forward to this collaboration establishing a stronger, strategic presence in Brazil, and moreover, South America, as this region is integral in mitigating global, viral threats.”

The SPPU’s research encompasses emerging and neglected infectious diseases that are transmitted by pathogens causing complex immune responses, producing nervous system disorders, and impacting human and animal public health. The SPPU works as an Emergency Cell and its main objective is to curb epidemics of those diseases by developing preventive, diagnostic/prognostic, and therapeutic methods. Located at the University of São Paulo, in São Paulo State (Brazil), in a 1,700 m² area, the Platform consists of 17 laboratories, four of which are biosecurity level 3 (NB3) – comparable to the European standard. The SPPU researchers closely share their areas of expertise, infrastructure, and cutting-edge equipment to strengthen the development of joint initiatives with a view towards discovering new products and processes, as well as transferring and applying those innovations. The SPPU is the result of a three-partite agreement celebrated among Institute Pasteur in Paris, the University of São Paulo (USP), and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) from Rio de Janeiro. It is currently a part of the Pasteur Network. The latest GVN Center is led by two Co-Directors, Paola MinoprioPhD, Executive Coordinator of the SPPU and Executive Director of the Institut Pasteur Brazil and Luís C.S. Ferreira, PhD, Professor and Head of the Laboratory for Vaccine Development at the University of São Paulo.

“The SPPU holds similar vision and mission with the GVN and shall contribute as a partner for the global preparedness and control of current and future viral epidemics, based on strong collaborations of scientists in Brazil and other countries,” said Dr. Minoprio and Dr. Ferreira. “The newly established SPPU´s group represents the outcome of strong collaborative work shared between University of São Paulo, the largest and most influential university at South America, and Institut Pasteur, a GVN Center of Excellence and renowned for its excellence in research and capacity to face public health challenges. Joining the GVN presents an opportunity to collaborate on more international initiatives and to gain experience and expertise in facing future viral challenges.  Further, based on our expertise from the COVID-19 pandemic, the SPPU is proud to join the GVN SARS-CoV-2 Task Force and share data in diagnostics, serological tests and vaccine development.”

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, existing 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 67 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 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
[email protected]

GVN 2020 Special Annual Meeting Executive Summary

A New Era in the Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic: Forging a “Viral Pandemic Readiness Alliance”

A September 22-23, 2020 Special Meeting of Top Global Experts Launches “Global Virus Network’s Vision for Future Pandemic Preparedness”

We are in the midst of a pandemic that has completely upended the world with major economic, social and psychological impacts. The major threat to public health is not only connected to COVID-19-related mortalities, but also to associated morbidity and, possibly, sequelae; moreover COVID-19 impacts overall population health due to the disorganization of health systems.

We must be very humble, as we cannot predict what the future could hold: seasonal variations? Long term persistence? Or regression? We need to keep in mind that the reason behind the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic’s regression has remained in part mysterious. In fact, eradication of the virus seems impossible, and herd immunity may be very difficult to achieve. Thus, we must learn to live with the virus.

It is increasingly clearer that we are not facing “another health crisis.” We are entering a new era where novel modes of organization must be designed. We cannot wait for the current crisis to conclude to prepare for the next—we must act now!

Despite significant progress in global health following previous epidemics and pandemics (including HIV, Influenza and Ebola), and although we were aware of the potential risk of such new pandemics, we were not sufficiently prepared. There are two immediate consequences for global health policies:

  • The importance of infectious diseases, global and “one health” are only further emphasized.
  • The divergence between politics and health in many countries has led to disastrous decisions. As such, we need to provide governing leaders with science-driven and independent strategies.

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is poised to be an important partner in achieving these objectives. This is a coalition of the foremost virologists worldwide, representing 57 research centers and 10 affiliates in 33 countries, and growing by the day. The GVN coordinates scientific projects and has organized task forces on specific viruses including Zika, Chikungunya, and HTLV-1, and now SARS-CoV-2. The organization also has a major focus on education, training and mentoring others in the field. Globally, there is a lack of critical mass in scientists, medical doctors and public health professionals working on infectious diseases. The GVN plays a significant role in advocacy and providing statements (in particular through its website https://gvn.org/). Science-driven and independent expertise are key drivers of meaningful public health strategies, and through its network of outstanding virologists worldwide, GVN offers national and international institutions, as well as industrial partners, a unique source of information and recommendations.

In this context, the GVN organized a two-day workshop dedicated to COVID-19 and future pandemic preparedness with the aim to evaluate what has been improperly and properly handled during these first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading. The workshop looked at precisely identifying the challenges ahead, the actions to take and how the GVN can collaborate with the many institutions to meet these needs. The goal of the workshop was not to revisit in detail all topics and known facts.  A video of the full post-meeting press conference, can be found here.

The following summarizes the major issues discussed:

1) Preparedness: We were not prepared, and we need to prepare now; This implies novel organizational modalities.

  • Cooperation and coordination, beyond goodwill and fashionable wordings; too many institutions are still working in silos with self-interest strategies.
  • Leverage technologic innovation and scientific progress to produce diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.
  • Contemplate and implement novel modes of interactions between academics and industrials, and such partnerships have been at the heart of the GVN since its inception.
  • Multi- and transdisciplinary collaborations, including social and behavioral sciences, and perception of communication.
  • International collaborations: one country alone cannot solve the problem. While this seems obvious, most countries have reacted on an isolated basis. A global collaboration network for pandemic preparedness and prevention needs to be implemented immediately.

2) Prediction: Humans are the best sentinels. Is it feasible to predict future pandemics? How to sufficiently organize surveillance?

  • We must recognize that we cannot predict future pandemics, though we can improve our strategies. Yet, we have sufficient technologies and data analysis systems (including artificial intelligence), but we need to establish implementation and global data sharing mechanisms.
  • We know that animal viruses are major risk factors for the next epidemics and pandemics. This is even increasingly at stake. During the meeting scientists emphasized that five of the seven human coronaviruses identified (229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) in the last 20 years have emerged from bats. Humans are modifying ecosystems and are in fact accelerating transmission events.
  • Comprehensive sequencing-based analysis of all viruses worldwide (“animal viromes”) provides useful knowledge but does not predict transmission to humans. GVN scientists point to the importance of focusing surveillance efforts to the human populations who interface with animals.

3) Origin: There is no scientific evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was disseminated by human manipulation.

  • GVN scientists all concur on this controversy.
  • The mission to find out the origins of the virus was a true international collaboration and transparent process featuring scientists from China, America, Australia, Japan, France, and the Philippines.
  • There is a 1,200-nucleotide difference between the closest backbone virus and SARS-CoV-2, representing 4 to the power of 1,200 possible combinations. Even if someone had unlimited research funding and all the best virologists in the world, no one could make this virus.
  • An extensive study will be conducted starting in China and through Southeast Asia to identify the origins of the virus and to allow much better surveillance and mitigation for future emerging viruses.

4) Transmission: “Super spreaders” and “super spreading” events are major drivers of pandemics.

  • COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease with very low mortality directly induced by the virus, thus the ideal condition for a virus to spread. The importance of masks, physical distancing and handwashing is well-known. GVN scientists also emphasize the importance of research on disinfectants, an underappreciated protective measure.
  • As re-emphasized in this workshop, only a handful of those infected seem highly contagious. Thus, transmission is driven by a limited number of individuals who behave as “super spreaders.” Why do some individuals (a.k.a. “super spreaders”) transmit viruses to so many others? Although we know that such individuals show high viral load and are generally, yet not always, younger, this cannot fully account for this spreading. What are the other factors? Thus far, research focused on such individuals is mandatory. The question remains whether we can identify novel biomarkers, though we would need to fully exclude stigmatization.
  • Also, this implies for obvious statistical reasons that large gatherings are major risk factors for being in contact with such rare “super spreaders” and thus contributors to rapid viral wide spreading. Therefore, we should not only speak of “super spreaders” but also of “super spreading” events.
  • Aerosol-related transmission is still a controversial issue. Yet, GVN scientists have emphasized that the impact of short-range aerosol-driven transmission contributes to the dissemination of the virus, particularly in the context of “super spreading” events. Masks are very efficient against large droplets but are unfortunately less efficient against such aerosols.

5) Diagnostic: Efficient and rapid diagnostic testing is the key for controlling an infectious disease, and we have not benefited enough from the huge technology progress in this area.

  • Nothing is needed more than rapid diagnostic tests. We need to trace and follow infected individuals and their contacts. We need to educate the general public. This is absolutely the foundation, and we cannot do anything without it.
  • There is now ample evidence that salivary sampling can be used instead of nasal swabs in both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected individuals. This can overhaul access to testing, in particular but not only in children. Rapid tests, whether molecular or immune-based, are now available at a low cost, and presentations have been made by GVN scientists demonstrating these points. Point-of-care rapid tests should also be available.
  • Important progress has been made regarding serological assays, offering major insights not only on the epidemiology but also defining the neutralization capacity of detected antibodies as novel correlates for protection. These are fully necessary for evaluating protective measures, novel therapies and vaccines. As an example, some presentations showed that the nature of the antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 significantly differs when comparing children and elderly, possibly accounting for variations in disease severity. Yet, we need standardized protocols for neutralizing assays. Also, the protective efficacy of antibodies needs to be further substantiated. GVN scientists have emphasized the need to get access to the cellular immune response for delineating such correlates of protection.
  • Discussions have been focused on how we should provide novel organizational schemes to favor rapid translation from technology-driven research to routine testing, and partnerships between academic and industrial partners should be reinforced in an international context. Institutions such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations created for vaccine development are interesting models to get such novel consortia moving faster.

6) Therapeutics: Despite a huge effort made on drug repurposing so far, we have achieved limited results.

  • Drug repurposing must continue to be at the heart of the therapeutic strategy, providing immediate access of well characterized molecules and allowing massive screening for antiviral activities. However, we do not yet have access to drugs that can prevent transmission in high-risk groups or treat early infections. In fact, we are left with combining steroids, Remdesivir (with some but limited efficacy) and anticoagulants for severe infections with pneumonia. Though, several ongoing studies offer hope for novel prophylactic and early treatment molecules.
  • In this context, GVN scientists have emphasized the need for research agencies to fund not only drug repurposing but also drug discovery. Drug discovery will take time to lead to novel accessible molecules – this is a long battle and not a single crisis.
  • Several presentations demonstrated the potential of novel therapeutic avenues, from immunomodulatory to direct antiviral approaches. Antivirals are only meaningful in the early phase of the infection.
  • The trend will be to use drugs targeting multiple pathways and to combine antivirals and immunomodulatory molecules. Additionally, GVN scientist are addressing the possibility of developing broad spectrum antivirals, which could be effective against coronaviruses, influenza and filoviruses (involved in hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola, Zika etc.).

7) Vaccines: Safety, efficacy and durability are predominant concerns of COVID-19 vaccine development. Nonspecific immunization procedures must be considered along with COVID-19-specific vaccines.

  • Enormous parallel efforts are being made worldwide utilizing innovative approaches to shorten the vaccine development time. There is uncertainty as to when vaccines for COVID-19 will be readily available for mass vaccination and which formula will be the most efficient. Importantly, we need to ensure the safety of vaccines by testing proper animal models and complying with regulatory requirements – we simply cannot incur adverse reactions.
  • We also need second-generation vaccines that are more focused on the cell immune response.
  • Stimulation of the Innate immune response by non-specific immunization, for example: Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), Oral Polio Virus, is extremely important. GVN scientists made important presentations on this topic, illustrating how BCG-based strategies have already allowed in different contexts to decrease the neonates’ overall mortality in Africa and the rate of respiratory infections in elderly. Mechanisms accounting for stimulation of innate immune response in COVID-19 were thoroughly discussed, and ongoing trials on the impact of BCG and Oral Polio Virus-based vaccines on COVID-19 were deliberated. This approach is complementary to specific vaccine development and might offer a bridge before getting an efficient and sufficiently characterized vaccine.

Conclusions:

It is not a crisis – it is a new era. We have major challenges ahead.  We need a new organization and we need it now.  This is where the GVN is very important, and complementary to national and international agencies. This workshop has led GVN to forge a unified and multidisciplinary pandemic response strategy, tentatively named the Viral Pandemic Readiness Alliance (VPRA) by collaborations with university, industry, government and communities to merge the efforts and find solutions together.

  • True international collaborations are essential and go beyond good and fashionable wordings. Global, One Health and VPRA strategy can support future pandemic preparedness with distribution of diagnostics, vaccine and therapeutics and other interventional measures.
  • In a surge of COVID-19 publications and news releases, we need reliable channels for dissemination of scientific knowledge and information sharing. GVN and VPRA can contribute to this global collaboration effort by assisting the UN, WHO, CEPI, Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other organizations to serve this purpose.

 

GVN 2020 Meeting Press Release

GVN International Press Conference September 24, 2020

Global Virus Network (GVN) Presents Doherty Institute Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin with the Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence and Leadership in Medical Virology

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, September 22, 2020: The Global Virus Network (GVN), comprising foremost experts around the world in every class of virus-causing disease in humans and some animals, today presented Doherty Institute Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin with the Robert C. Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence and Leadership in Medical Virology  Presented today at the GVN Special Annual Meeting, Professor Lewin was selected for her outstanding clinical virology research and clinical trials, her leadership in Australian medical science as Director of the Doherty Institute, and her leadership in the GVN.

Professor Lewin has an international reputation in the field of HIV latency and eradication and immune reconstitution and HIV-hepatitis B virus co-infection.

In 2020 she has worked tirelessly at the helm of the Doherty Institute which has been at the forefront of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Lewin said it was an incredible honour to be presented with the Robert Gallo Award.

“The GVN is among other things, dedicated to identifying, research, combatting and preventing current and emerging pandemic viruses, it’s reason for being has never been so relevant. It’s a privilege to receive the Robert Gallo Award, and to be so closely linked as a GVN Center of Excellence Director,” Professor Lewin said.

The Doherty Institute is one of 57 GVN global Centers of Excellence, which Professor Lewin co-leads with Professor Damian Purcell and Professor Peter Revill.

The award is named after GVN Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor, Professor Robert Gallo, who is most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS and the development of the HIV blood test.

“Sharon Lewin is an international leader in clinical research,” said Professor Robert C. Gallo, co-founder of GVN and the current Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  “Additionally, she has been, and will continue to be, a medical science thought leader for the field of clinical virology and a powerful presence in Australia and globally as a scientific leader of the Doherty Institute, quickly establishing this GVN Center as one of excellence. I know all in the GVN are very happy and proud to honor her.”

“I congratulate Sharon Lewin for such a well-deserved award,” said GVN President Professor Christian Bréchot.  “Indeed, this recognizes her major scientific achievements and her full commitment to both the fight against HIV and support for the Global Virus Network.”

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The 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 57 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 33 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 and follow on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews.