Global Virus Network (GVN) Adds Gilead Sciences to GVN Healthcare & Pharma Centers of Excellence Coalition

The Partnership Focuses on Stimulating Collaborations and Training the Next Generation of Virus Researchers to Prepare for and Mitigate Future Global Threats

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, June 30, 2021: The Global Virus Network (“GVN”), the world’s leading coalition of virologists combatting current and emerging pandemic viral threats and viral causes of disease through international collaborative research response, by training the next generation of virologists and through education and advocacy, announced Gilead Sciences as its latest member of the GVN Healthcare and Pharma Center of Excellence Coalition, a groundbreaking, pioneering and collaborative strategic initiative that brings together and harnesses the expertise and resources of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies to lead the war against viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health and mankind.

The announcement was jointly made by 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, Tomas Cihlar, PhD, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences and a member of the GVN Board of Directors and 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.

The current pandemic, the proliferation of other viral threats such as Ebola, dengue, Zika or yellow fever as well as the interplay between viruses such as HTLV, HPV, HBV and HCV with cancer, are yet other examples of the critical need to pool global resources and urgently address viral threats.  With partners, now including Gilead, Abbot and Sanofi Pasteur, the GVN is tightly connected to public and private sector entities to develop effective and sustainable scientific solutions to address viral threats and viral causes of disease.

“GVN’s Healthcare and Pharma Center of Excellence Coalition is bringing industry and academia together in a most impactful way,” said Dr. Bréchot.  “GVN serves as the catalyst to advance science by bridging the gap between the public and private health sectors.”

The international business community in general, and the global pharmaceutical industry, are essential to effectively stem the spread of viral diseases worldwide.  Such partners are critical in preparedness against potential pandemics and in stopping the spread of viruses as they appear.  Viruses, viral disease and epidemics and the resultant health problems know no boundaries and spread rapidly beyond national borders causing fear, panic and uncertainty in addition to untold and potentially devastating economic and social consequences.  As we well know from the current pandemic, businesses and corporations throughout the world are neither prepared nor immune and, for this reason, must collaborate, partner and work with organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Global Virus Network to mitigate, be prepared for and respond to viruses, viral disease and epidemics that are becoming far more commonplace, dangerous and harmful.

“Gilead is honored to join the GVN Healthcare & Pharma Center for Excellence Coalition,” said Dr. Cihlar. “As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, it is partnerships like these that underscore the important role of industry in preparing for potential future outbreaks by supporting world class science, as well as education on broader pandemic threats beyond COVID.”

“We are so delighted to have a Gilead relationship knowing well their outstanding contributions to therapeutic anti-viral drug development,” said Dr. Gallo.  “We look forward to growing GVN’s industry partnerships with organizations such as Gilead, Sanofi and Abbott as they are interested in a direct dialogue and collaborative partnership with scientists at the leading edge of viral research and drug and vaccine development.  Our partnerships help train the next generation of virologists to understand what they need to do as scientists working in the industry.  Should these researchers decide to pursue a career in academia and want to see some of their discoveries developed into a product, they will have a good idea about what an industry partner needs. Further, the Coalition partnership will equip candidates with the entrepreneurial spirit that will enable them to pursue a promising career in academia and/or industry.”

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.

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 63 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 35 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]

Celdara Medical and Global Virus Network Announce Collaboration to Advance Infectious Disease and Viral Infection Research and Development

The partnership will initially focus on SARS-CoV-2 and future pandemic threats.

BALTIMORE, MD and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and LEBANON, N.H. and NEW YORK, June 2, 2021 — Celdara Medical, LLC (Celdara), an experienced biopharma developer focused on launching promising products to the patients who need them the most, today announced a new strategic collaboration with the Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of human and animal virologists from 63 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 35 countries. As part of the Pandemic Security Initiative (PanSec) and the mission of the GVN, the two organizations will advance collaborative research on emerging and infectious diseases and fast spreading viral infections by identifying promising diagnostic tools, neutralizing antibodies, vaccines and drugs. An initial strategic focus will be on broad spectrum antivirals.

PanSec is a public-private partnership, striving to ensure preparedness for the next pandemic. Celdara has a robust early stage anti-infectives pipeline and extensive experience in pre-clinical pharmaceutical development which forms the foundation from which the PanSec was launched.

“We are thrilled to work with GVN through our Pandemic Security Initiative, which seeks to deliver on the promise of innovation in universities, government labs and businesses to prepare and protect us from future infectious disease pandemics,” said Dr. Jake Reder, Celdara’s cofounder and CEO. “The world was caught largely unaware by SARS-CoV-2; however, we believe history need not repeat itself with future viruses and epidemiological threats. One key learning from recent events is that no one institution, country or organization can solve a global disease threat alone. GVN has amassed a worldwide network which brings together the finest medical virologists to address the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. Through the combined expertise of GVN, Celdara and PanSec, we can deliver on the most promising medical innovations and provide clinicians and first responders with powerful new medicines and tests.”

The standard drug development model doesn’t work for sporadic infectious diseases – without a market to provide returns there can be no private investment. Built on Celdara Medical’s successful business model, PanSec seeks to bridge this gap by unleashing innovation for patient and societal benefit by tapping into an existing innovation pipeline that spans the U.S. and beyond. Celdara has partnerships with research universities and institutions across the country and is harnessing their collective expertise as a part of the initiative.

“Our international network of academic virologists regularly generates important discoveries that have the potential to improve pandemic preparedness if they can be quickly and professionally developed. The partnership between the GVN and Celdara Medical will complement GVN’s work,” said Christian Bréchot, President, GVN and Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.. “Long before COVID appeared on the global stage, viruses caused millions of deaths each year. Since our founding in 2011, GVN’s coalition of eminent virologists from around the world have been working to identify and understand viruses, with a long term goal to prevent illness and death. We look forward to continuing our important work in collaboration with PanSec,” said Prof. Robert Gallo, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder & Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Co-Founder & Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the GVN..

About Celdara Medical
Celdara Medical was founded by Drs. Jake Reder and Michael Fanger in 2008 and is headquartered at the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center (DRTC) in Lebanon, N.H. Celdara Medical builds academic and early-stage innovations into high-potential medical companies, identifying discoveries of exceptional value at the earliest stages and moving them toward the market. Celdara Medical partners with inventors and their institutions, providing the developmental, financial, and business acumen required to bridge discovery and profitability. With robust funding options, a diverse and high impact Programmatic pipeline, and partnerships with world-class academic institutions and industry leaders, Celdara Medical navigates all aspects of a complex industry, accelerating science to improve human health.

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 63 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 35 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

About The Pandemic Security Initiative
The Pandemic Security Initiative seeks to protect the nation from future pandemics by developing medical countermeasures that integrate the best of ground-breaking science, entrepreneurial innovation, public-sector investment, and private-sector efficiency. With support from the public and private sectors, including the Department of Health and Human Services, its mission is to identify and develop innovative diagnostics, prophylactics, and therapeutics against pandemic scale threats. Celdara Medical initiated this work in 2014 and formalized it under the Pandemic Security Initiative umbrella in early 2020 to capture learnings from and aid in the response to COVID-19. Celdara Medical’s Academic Partner Network includes collaborations with over 60 leading universities, and thousands of pipeline innovations from hundreds of universities and research labs spanning all 50 states and dozens of countries. The Pandemic Security Initiative is an entrepreneurial, operating, health-security product developer. For more information on the Pandemic Security Initiative visit www.pansec.org.

Global Virus Network Analysis Suggests Measles, Polio and Tuberculosis Vaccines May Boost Immunity to Coronavirus

Innate Immunity Created by Live Attenuated Vaccines Like Measles and Polio May Provide Some Protection Against Future Pandemics – Idea Needs To Be Tested, Scientists Say

BALTIMORE, MD, May 18, 2021: Members of the Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of human and animal virologists from 63 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 35 countries, and colleagues today published a perspective proposing that live attenuated vaccines (LAVs), such as those for tuberculosis, measles, and polio, may induce protective innate immunity that mitigate other infectious diseases, triggering the human body’s natural emergency response to infections including COVID-19 as well as future pandemic threats.

The scientists suggest that LAVs prospectively might offer a vital tool to bend the pandemic curve, averting the exhaustion of public health resources and preventing needless deaths, and merit being studied. The perspective was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

“A review of epidemiological, clinical and biological evidence suggests that induction of innate immunity by existing LAVs, that is, the broadly effective vaccines, can protect against unrelated infections such as coronavirus, and could be used to control epidemics caused by emerging pathogens,”  said Dr. Robert Gallo, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder & Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Co-Founder & Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the Global Virus Network.

Dr. Gallo said, “This approach is worthy of prompt further study due to the probability of future pandemics. This could be a stop-gap before specific vaccines are made.  But even in the current pandemic they may be of use in non-affluent nations where the specific vaccines are not available.

“Our innate immune response is the first line of defense against invading, new pathogens. The outcome of any infection depends on the race between the pathogen and the host defense systems. The innate immunity and enhancing defense pathways provided by widely-used and well-recognized vaccines could substantially mitigate, or even prevent, infection from other pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2. This is especially valuable because LAVs can fill the gap until specific vaccines are available and in particular when they have not reached certain countries globally.

“We very actively support the marvelous COVID-19-specific vaccines, and nothing in this publication conflicts with the development and use of these effective vaccines,” said Dr. Michael Avidan of the Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University, St Louis, MO.  “We are suggesting that in the absence or availability of pathogen-specific vaccines, particularly in the beginning phase of a pandemic, that LAVs be rigorously tested to determine whether they can control infection and disease progression.”

“Even in the case of a microorganism such as SARS-CoV-2, for which we have been able to develop vaccines fairly quickly, it is still a minimum of one and a half to two years until a safe and effective vaccine can be produced, tested, distributed, and delivered globally,” said Dr. Dean Jamison, a leading global health economist of the Institute for Global Health Sciences, University of California, and the GVN. “In this period, countless lives have been lost and economic havoc has been unleashed in the world economy. This could be even more tragic in the case of a future pandemic for which the development of a vaccine is more challenging, transmission is more rapid, or herd immunity more difficult to achieve. LAVs that stimulate innate immunity could serve as a stop-gap until an effective vaccine is widely available.”

“Besides protecting against infection, innate immunity stimulation also has the potential to be used therapeutically in the early stages of disease, as well as to boost the effectiveness of vaccines that promote a specific adaptive immune response. This potential, while theoretical, is also worthy of further study,” said Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, Associate Director for Research for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Vaccines Research and Review, and a GVN Center Director.  “As we wrote last year in a perspective published in Science, studies with the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) from the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated nonspecific immune protection and found that OPV reduced the incidence of seasonal influenza and acute respiratory disease.”

In 2014, a World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned review at the recommendation of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on vaccines (SAGE) concluded that LAVs reduced child mortality by more than expected. The same patterns were observed in high-income settings, including in the U.S., as having a live vaccine as the most recent vaccine being associated with a halving of the risk of hospitalization for non-targeted infections. The WHO review advised more research regarding the beneficial heterologous effects of LAVs; to date, no such WHO studies have been conducted.

The authors said that because of the huge toll that the current pandemic has taken on a global basis, looking into all possible options is essential. Despite the unprecedented brief time that it took to develop, test and deliver the current vaccines, it still took a year and a half and if LAVs could help stimulate innate immunity, they could help delay the global impact of a new pandemic while a new vaccine is being developed.

“There is immense readiness and massive financial support to develop and deliver the novel specific vaccines, but very little to test LAVs for use during a pandemic, despite their potential to prevent needless suffering and help mitigate social and economic carnage in any future pandemic. There are even some advantages in that they work very promptly, are low cost and likely to be readily available. Furthermore, their safety profile is often well-established. But we must acknowledge there are likely limitations because they do not last very long, perhaps only a few months, said Dr. Gallo.

“My esteemed colleagues and I are urgently calling on governments, philanthropy and non-profit foundations to support testing of an LAV strategy to determine whether LAVs can protect high-risk populations such as healthcare workers and the elderly as well as low-income populations worldwide, thereby reducing social and economic inequities.”

In addition to Dr. Robert Gallo, Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, Dr. Michael Avidan, and Dr. Dean Jamison, the authors of the PNAS viewpoint include Dr. Christine Benn of the Department of Clinical Research, GVN Center of Excellence, University of Southern Denmark; Dr. Mihai Netea of the Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center for Infectious Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, a GVN Center of Excellence; Dr. Annie Sparrow of the Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr. Stefano Bertozzi of the School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley and the GVN; Dr. Lawrence Blatt of Aligos Therapeutics and the GVN; Dr. Angela Chang of the Danish Institute for Advanced Study, University of Southern Denmark; Dr. Shabaana Khader of the Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine; and, Dr. Shyam Kottilil of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, GVN Center of Excellence.

Addendum Quotes

“LAVs against tuberculosis and smallpox have been associated with better long-term survival,” said Dr. Christine Benn of the Department of Clinical Research, GVN Center of Excellence, University of Southern Denmark. For example, OPV campaigns in West Africa have been associated with a 25% reduction in all-cause mortality, with each additional dose reducing mortality by a further 14%.”

“Several basic science observations make clear the central importance of innate immunity in controlling coronaviruses including SARS-1, SARS-CoV-2, and MERS,” said Dr. Mihai Netea of the Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center for Infectious Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Further, control of coronaviruses by bats is largely associated with an appropriate balancing of innate immune responses between resistance and tolerance.”

“It is critically important from both scientific and public health perspectives that we complete rigorous trials evaluating the effectiveness of LAVs in preventing COVID-19 or mitigating its severity,” said Dr. Annie Sparrow of the Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The findings from these trials will inform if, and how, we could incorporate LAVs into our toolkit against future pandemics.”

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 63 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 35 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]