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

GVN’s Top Virus Experts Meet Together To Identify Most Promising Advances To Battle COVID-19 & Strategies To Prepare For Future Pandemics

Rapid Diagnostic Testing, Repurposing Drug Therapies and Vaccines Targeting Innate Immunity, Are Integral Factors in Mitigating COVID-19

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, September 30, 2020: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical and basic virology research centers working to prevent illness and death from viral disease, convened a press conference with attendees from across the globe to discuss key takeaways from the GVN virtual 2020 Special Annual Meeting held September 23-24, 2020.

A video of the full press conference, can be found here.

“We do not know what the future holds for COVID-19 – there may be seasonal variations or chronic infections or maybe a slowdown,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, GVN President. “However, we know that we have to prepare and that this for now and not after the end of this pandemics; in the spirit of preparation, it is very timely that we used the Special Annual Meeting to band together international experts to identify and analyze what went wrong, what has been properly handled and what recommendations we can confidently make.”

Key findings during the meeting regarding SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research include:

  • “Super-spreaders” and “super-spreading” events are major drivers of the pandemic, indicating that only a handful of those infected seem be exponentially contagious. Further, short-range aerosol-driven transmission contributes to the dissemination of the virus, particularly in the context of the super spreading events.
  • Key pandemic response strategies – the need to take better advantage of the major technology progress in diagnostics, a key driver for the control of infectious diseases; salivary sampling will very much increase our testing capacity, including in school settings; novel rapid and cheap molecular rapid diagnostic tests combined with digital-based transmission of the results, tracing and isolation should be widely emphasized, an understanding of communicability and transmission and, most importantly, the creation of a unified and multidisciplinary response with mechanisms for information sharing among international virologists and independent authorities.
  • An evaluation of vaccine development – timing, an analysis of the candidates, side-effects and managing the world’s expectation for a satisfactory and timely vaccine. Until a classical, effective vaccine is available, vaccines that stimulate the body’s innate immune system, such as the oral polio vaccine and BCG, are integral in protecting against infection.
  • A very strong statement against SARS-CoV-2 being the result of human manipulation.
  • An update on the available and future therapies, emphasizing the need to combine novel antiviral and immunomodulatory molecules as well as the need to contemplate in the future antivirals with broad spectrum against several viruses.

Dr. Bréchot, who also is a professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, continued, “This is not just a crisis – it is a new era. We have major challenges ahead, we need a new organization and we need it now.  Global collaborations will build a strong foundation. This is where the GVN is very important, and complementary to national and international agencies. The GVN is well positioned to establish with all partners a Viral Pandemic Readiness Alliance to facilitate collaborations with universities, industry, governments and communities to merge efforts and find solutions together.”

“Simple, safe, oral, inexpensive, live vaccines such as the oral polio vaccine (OPV) will have a broad benefit against COVID-19. This can also likely be used in future pandemics, particularly of respiratory viruses, by inducing innate immunity, which is immediate and not as limiting as a specific vaccine,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, co-founder of GVN; 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.

Dr. Gallo, who is most renowned for discovering human retroviruses, co-discovering HIV as the cause of AIDS and developing the HIV blood test continued, “Nothing is needed more than a rapid diagnostic test. Molecular tests that can be done cheaply and at home, within two hours or less time – nothing could be more valuable “We need to be able to trace; we need to be able to follow people; we need to be able to educate. This is absolutely basic, and without it we can do nothing. There is singularly nothing else more important in my mind than having rapid and reliable diagnostics.”

Dr. Bréchot was joined at the press event by presenters from the annual meeting including:

  • Linfa Wang, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Konstantin Chumakov, FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, USA
  • Ab Osterhaus, TiHo Hannover, Germany
  • Johan Neyts, Rega Institute, Belgium
  • Raymond Schinazi, Emory University, USA

Next, David Scheer, an advisor and entrepreneur in life sciences with a lifelong career in global public health non-profits, moderated a discussion titled, “From HIV to SARS-CoV-2 and Beyond.” Panelists were Dr. Gallo, Dr. Bréchot and Dr. Eric Rubin, New England Journal of Medicine Editor.  The frank COVID-19 discussion included historical perspectives, the emergence of variant strains of SARS-CoV-2, vaccine development and innate immunity, the use of existing and new drug therapies, pandemic preparedness as it relates to industry, government and academia, and that SARS-CoV-2 is naturally occurring and not manmade.

The meeting program can be found 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 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. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews.

Media Contacts:
Sard Verbinnen & Co
Kelly Kimberly/Kelly Langmesser
GVN-SVC@sardverb.com
+1.212.687.8080

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

GVN International Press Conference September 24, 2020

GVN 2020 Special Annual Meeting Executive Summary

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.

Global Virus Network Announces 2020 Special Annual Meeting

World-Renowned Scientists Come Together to Address COVID-19, Ramifications for Future Epidemics and Pandemics  at September 22-23 Virtual Meeting

Editors’ note: Media are invited to participate in a virtual press conference on Thursday, September 24 at 9 am ET, which will highlight key outcomes/findings of the meeting. GVN founders and session chairs will present the findings, followed by a QA session for news media. To register or learn more, email GVN-SVC@sardverb.com.

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, September 17, 2020: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working to prevent illness and death from viral disease, will hold its 2020 GVN Special Annual Meeting virtually September 22-23, 2020.  The current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) crisis has now been ongoing for more than seven months and it is timely to investigate what went wrong, what went right, and what GVN proposes for future pandemics.  GVN, a partner of international institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looks forward to providing guidance on lessons learned from this current crisis and future preparedness, particularly as we prepare for a potential second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Discussion topics will include vaccine development, therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as ensuring that scientific truth and fact prevails. This analysis will examine key pandemic response strategies, including a universal masking policy, creating a consortium to improve diagnostics and vaccines, enhancing peer reviewed processes and establishing reliable channels for information sharing. The invitation-only meeting will bring together experts in virology, epidemiology and public health, including representatives of GVN Centers of Excellence, to facilitate international collaboration and information sharing.

“There could not be a more critical time for our organization to host a special meeting as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to the collaborative ideas, insights, perspectives and recommendations that our Annual Meetings consistently provide, enlightening our members and the broader global scientific community and world leaders in their work addressing virus-causing diseases,” said GVN President Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD. “And at this critical time, we need shared expertise and strategies as we work together to anticipate the second wave of COVID-19 and future pandemics.”

“If there existed a collaborative, first research response such as the GVN when I was working on AIDS, we would have distributed the fast-moving scientific developments more rapidly and saved countless more lives.  COVID-19 is no different, the world should have been better prepared, and still it is not,” said Dr. 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. “The GVN Special Annual Meeting will give us the opportunity to determine what we must do to address the impending second wave of COVID-19 and be better prepared for the future epidemics and pandemics to come.”

The conference will include presentations by leading international scientists from nine countries representing 15 GVN Centers of Excellence. In addition to Drs. Gallo and Bréchot, presenters include:

 

  • Sharon Lewin of Doherty Institute, Australia
  • Edward Holmes of University of Sydney, Australia
  • Joaquim Segales of Irta-Cresa, Spain
  • Wim H. M. Van Der Poel of Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong, China
  • Raymond Schinazi of Emory University Center, USA
  • David Block of Glinknik, USA
  • John Mellors of the University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Rabindra M. Tirovanziam of Emory University, USA
  • Franco Buonaguro of the National Cancer Institute, Italy
  • Miguel Luengo-Oroz of Un Global Pulse, USA
  • Linfa Wang of the Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Florian Krammer of Mount Sinai, USA
  • Amy Chung of University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Sophie Valkenburg of the University of Hong Kong, China
  • Konstantin Chumakov of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, USA
  • Marion Gruber of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, USA
  • Chirstine Stabel Benn of the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  • Mihai Netea of Radboud University, Netherlands
  • Gavin Cloherty of Abbott Laboratories, USA
  • David Scheer of Scheer & Company, USA
  • Mark Parrington of Sanofi, USA
  • Ab Osterhaus of TiHo Hannover, Germany
  • Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA
  • Gene Morse of the University of Buffalo, USA

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 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. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews.

Media Contacts:

Sard Verbinnen & Co
Kelly Kimberly/Kelly Langmesser
GVN-SVC@sardverb.com
+1.212.687.8080

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

 

 

Abbott partners with the Global Virus Network on a new coalition to prepare for future pandemics

In late 2019, a group of infectious disease experts had an idea— to create a coalition among leaders in the public and private sectors that could help prepare for how the global health community responds to emerging pandemics and collaborate to end major viral pandemics.

As the initial program formed between Abbott and Global Virus Network (GVN) – a global coalition of medical virologists – the group quickly realized they would be developing a blueprint for pandemic preparedness, while in the middle of one.

“We are seeing first-hand the urgent need for collaboration when it comes to a novel virus that becomes a pandemic,” says Christian Bréchot, M.D., Ph.D., and president of the Global Virus Network (GVN). “By having this coalition in place, we are essentially creating the instructional manual for how we respond to emerging pandemics, while also creating the vehicle to do so.”

A global virus coalition

The GVN Corporate Centers of Excellence Coalition was first created in late 2019 as a way to bring together the world’s foremost virologists and prominent companies to catalyze and facilitate the development, evaluation and testing of diagnositcs, therapeutics, treatments and vaccines for viral epidemics and pandemics that pose a threat to public health.

As a leader in infectious disease testing and blood screening, Abbott joined as the inaugural member of the coalition.

“We know that every day matters when it comes to responding to a pandemic, which is why collaboration and preparedness are critical,” said Gavin Cloherty, Ph.D., head of Infectious Disease Research, Diagnostics, Abbott. “With this partnership, we are creating a SWAT team of highly trained scientists to share knowledge, techniques and innovative tests and technologies to better understand both existing and emerging viruses.”

The collaboration with GVN plans to focus on three initial areas:

  • Strengthening preparedness
  • Sharing research on known pathogens and emerging pathogens
  • Providing insights on the potential impact of this research

Collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic

In the early weeks of the pandemic, Abbott brought together a team of its scientists to develop diagnostic and antibody tests to detect the virus and the antibodies that develop after an infection.

One of the key elements for developing these tests were virus samples to ensure the accuracy of our test. Through the Corporate Centers of Excellence program, Abbott collaborated with GVN to identify additional virus samples in different patient populations and has worked with GVN to determine new locations to conduct research.

The coalition is also developing the framework to collaborate and share research on the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 ) virus. Abbott and GVN are establishing a SARS-CoV-2 biobank – or repository that stores biology samples – to study and validate antibody tests.

Planning for the future

From Smallpox, to HIV or the latest efforts for COVID-19, history has shown the impact infectious diseases can have and the need to stay ahead of emerging viruses.

The Centers of Excellence will take learnings developed for the fight against COVID-19 to prepare for future pandemics.

“In the early days of the pandemic, data-sharing was critical to helping the research community understand the virus. We can take the infrastructure from our SARS-CoV-2 biobank in development and use it as a template for future emerging viruses,” said Cloherty.

By developing an integrated global network of scientists and industry leaders, the healthcare community can work together to help in the fight against our current pandemic and quickly respond to future infectious disease outbreaks.

 

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 55 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. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

 

GVN MEDIA CONTACT
Nora Samaranayake
Phone:  410-706-1966
Email:    nsamaranayake@gvn.org

 

Prominent Australian and Russian Research Institutions Join Global Virus Network to Combat Viral Diseases

Center for Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ) at Griffith University, Australia and the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences Join GVN at Critical Time for Information Sharing

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, September 8, 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 announced the addition of the Center for Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics (EVIT) of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University, Australia and the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences as its newest Centers of Excellence. The two new institutions bring GVN’s total number of Centers of Excellence to 57, along with 10 affiliates in 33 countries.

“We are pleased to have these premier institutions join us from Australia and Russia at this critical time in the global pandemic,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, who is President of the GVN and Professor at the University of South Florida.  “EVIT will strengthen our depth and collaborative network in arbovirology, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, Southeast Asia, India, South America and South Africa. The Chumakov Center has unique expertise in varying areas of virology with many global connections, making it Russia’s leading research organization in the field of virology.”

EVIT, as part of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, provides a critical mass of scientists and clinicians with distinct areas of expertise in emerging arbovirus diseases. The Center has excellent knowledge of viral pathogenesis and related inflammatory diseases and strong capabilities in developing treatments for emerging viruses such as chikungunya (CHIKV), Ross River (RRV), dengue, Zika (ZIKV), Japanese encephalitis (JEV) and West Nile (WNV) viruses.  Additionally, EVIT focuses on emerging viruses such as Hendra and SARS-CoV-2, and established viruses such as influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus. The Center has a strong emphasis on both basic and translational research, which has led to several major breakthroughs in understanding how viruses cause disease. The GVN Center is led by Suresh Mahalingam, PhD, FASM, FAAM, Professor and Director, Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics Group, Principal Research Leader and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at EVIT.

“GVN has the ability to contribute to the activities of major players in world health such as CEPI and GAVI, which will open up additional opportunities for our research center to establish new collaborations,” said Dr. Mahalingam. “Further, through our GVN membership, we look forward to enhancing our leadership of arbovirus research and disease preparedness in the Asia-Pacific region; establishing new collaborations with fellow GVN members; facilitating advanced training of students and researchers from the Asia-Pacific region; and, enhancing technology and knowledge transfer within the GVN.”

The Chumakov Center conducts a broad range of studies of different human and animal viruses and manufactures polio, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis vaccines, supplying up to 70% of national demand in these products. Yellow fever vaccines produced at the Chumakov Center cover more than a half of UNICEF’s Eliminating Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy, supporting immunization in more than 50 countries.  The Chumakov Center contains the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional reference laboratory for polio preforming epidemiological surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis and polio as a part of Global Polio Laboratory Network for Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The Center also acts as a WHO Collaborative Center for Poliomyelitis and Enterovirus Surveillance and Research. The Center is led by Aydar Ishmukhametov, MD, DSc, Director General of the Chumakov Center and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“Our expertise in research, preclinical and clinical development and manufacturing of antiviral vaccines will be useful for GVN members.,” said Dr. Ishmukhametov.  “We look forward to collaborating with the world’s leading virology experts and for participation of our younger scientists in virology training programs through 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, 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. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews.

Media Contact:

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

Global Virus Network’s Institute of Human Virology and Italian Researchers identify a SARS-CoV-2 Viral Strain with Deletion in a Protein, Possibly Reducing Fatalities

A deletion in a protein, NSP1, which is important for reducing innate immune response may signal emergence of a less pathogenic viral strain

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 24, 2020: The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence, in collaboration with scientists from Campus Biomedico in Rome, Italy announced today the results of studies showing the emergence of a SARS-CoV-2 viral strain with a deletion in a protein known as nsp1.  These data, accepted for publication today by the Journal of Translational Medicine, may indicate the emergence of a less pathogenic viral strain.

“Nsp1 plays a central role in hampering the anti-viral innate immune response,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor, Co-founder & Director at the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Co-Founder and Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the Global Virus Network (GVN).  “Our data indicate that a small percentage of SARS-CoV-2 viruses is harboring a deletion in an important protein responsible for hampering the innate immune response, possibly adapting toward a decrease in pathogenicity. Scientists, including those within the Global Virus Network, will be able to expand on these data to confirm how widespread this deletion is.”

The researchers analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences from several countries and discovered a previously unknown deletion that is widespread and spans varying geographical areas. Modelling analysis of the newly identified deletion of SARS-CoV-2 nsp1 suggests that this deletion could affect the structure of the C-terminal region of the protein, important for both regulating viral replication and hampering the innate immune system response. The research indicates that the virus may become less pathogenic.

“SARS-CoV-2 seems to be undergoing profound genomic changes, but the effect of such changes on viral pathogenesis may become visible over a long period of time”, said Davide Zella, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and member of the Global Virus Network (GVN).  “We need to confirm the spreading of this particular viral strain and research potential strains with other deletions in the nsp1 protein, both in the population of asymptomatic and pauci-symptomatic subjects, and correlate these changes in nsp1 with decreased viral pathogenicity. Also, the spreading of this deletion needs to be evaluated over time”.

“The percentage of deletions found in the cases analyzed did not seem to be geographically homogenous, possibly due to the low number of available sequences for analysis,” said Francesca Benedetti, PhD, Research Associate of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of. Medicine “The percentage was higher in Sweden with 1.89% while in certain parts of the United States was about 1%.”

“Our modeling of nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 indicates that this deletion may influence potential structure in this region, thereby altering its activity and ability to interact with other proteins of the host,” says Greg Snyder, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“We are pleased to work with our colleagues at the Institute of Human Virology to identify and characterize the profound alterations in the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences spanning the globe, and to evaluate their biological significance,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, PhD, Associate Professor of Medical Statistics, Universita’ Campus Biomedico in Rome, Italy.

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About the Institute of Human Virology

Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Medical System, the IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV combines the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology, and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders – most notably, HIV the virus that causes AIDS. For more information, visit www.ihv.org and follow us on Twitter @IHVmaryland.

 

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 55 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. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

 

GVN MEDIA CONTACT
Nora Samaranayake
Phone:  410-706-1966
Email:    nsamaranayake@gvn.org

 

RENOWNED DOHERTY INSTITUTE IN AUSTRALIA INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIES EARLIER FINDINGS THAT AN ANTIMICROBIAL TECHNOLOGY ERADICATES SARS-COV-2 ON SURFACES FOR MORE THAN SIX WEEKS

The Findings Corroborate Research Previously Released by the Rega Medical Research Institute of KU Leuven, Belgium

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 13, 2020:  The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of the world’s preeminent human and animal virologists from 55 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 33 countries, announced that the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia released of a report on extensive tests independently confirming the Rega Medical Research Institute of KU Leuven, Belgium findings that a BIOPROTECT™ formulation by ViaClean Technologies eradicates SARS-CoV-2 (the unique coronavirus that causes COVID-19) on surfaces and provides continuous residual viricidal activity for more than six weeks.  The announcement was made today by Dr. Christian Bréchot, President of the GVN.

The Doherty and Rega Institutes both used state-of-the-art high containment virology facilities to independently conduct extensive tests on a BIOPROTECT™ formulation to study its effects on SARS-CoV-2 infectivity on various surfaces.  The standard ASTM E1053 test methodology was adapted to assess SARS-CoV-2 viricidal efficacy of microbicides on environmental surfaces.  GVN scientists at the Doherty Institute under the direction of Prof. Damian Purcell, and at the Rega Institute under the direction of Prof. Johan Neyts, definitively demonstrated that the BIOPROTECT™ formulation eliminates SARS-CoV-2 by both reducing its ability to be infectious and by destroying its genomic material.

“Our studies on numerous antiseptic agents for surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 show that the BIOPROTECT™ formulation’s long-lasting activity is far superior to conventional decontamination agents in general use,” said Prof. Damian Purcell, Head of the Molecular Virology Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at The University of Melbourne.  The Doherty Institute’s report is accessible here.

The tests were conducted in both “wet” and “dry” conditions.  In the wet test, SARS-CoV-2 was coated on stainless steel disks which were then treated with a wet solution of the BIOPROTECT™ formulation. In the dry test, the BIOPROTECT™ formulation was first applied to stainless steel samples which, 46 days later, were then exposed to a high titer of SARS-CoV-2.  Proving the longevity of the BIOPROTECT™ formulation on treated surfaces, tests revealed that the presence of the BIOPROTECT™ formulation maintained the ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 to negligible levels.  Furthermore, test results from Rega demonstrated that the disks pretreated with the BIOPROTECT™ formulation averaged a 99.7% inactivation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  All tests conducted were designed to conform with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and equivalent standards of regulatory agencies in Europe and Australia, to ensure the acceptability and credibility of the results.

“We tested BIOPROTECT™ formulation and found that it eliminated 99.7% of the SARS-CoV-2 present, 46 days after the tested material was treated with BIOPROTECT™ formulation,” said Dr. Johan Neyts, Professor of Virology at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven.  “This product is unique and its long-lasting ability to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 far exceeds conventional disinfectants, which makes it very helpful in the battle against COVID-19.”  The Rega Institute’s report is accessible here.

“The results of the tests conducted by the Doherty and the Rega Institutes clearly demonstrate that BIOPROTECT™ eradicates SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces and provides continuous residual antimicrobial protection for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Bréchot.  “It is clear that effective antimicrobials will be extremely important in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, given the time it will take to implement mass vaccination and fully develop novel therapies.  In this context, we are not aware of any microbicide surface treatment that continuously prohibits the growth and surface transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 for an extended period of time.  This represents a significant breakthrough in inhibiting the spread of COVID-19 by preventing surfaces from being contaminated by the virus and stopping the spread of the virus through contact with contaminated surfaces. Identifying and exploring innovative solutions, as well as fostering and facilitating collaboration between academic and industrial partners, be it large pharmaceutical firms or small biotech companies, is one of several ways the GVN can make a consequential contribution to the fight against COVID-19.”

An official statement by Dr. Robert Gallo and Dr. Christian Bréchot on the two GVN Centers of Excellence independent verification of antimicrobial technology that eradicates SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces for more than six weeks can be found here.

 

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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 10 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

 

About the Peter Doherty Institute

Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Biomedical Precinct, the Doherty Institute is named in honor of Patron, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells. Under the expert guidance of Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, a leader in research and clinical management of HIV and infectious diseases, the Doherty Institute has more than 700 staff who work on infection and immunity through a broad spectrum of activities. This includes discovery research; diagnosis, surveillance and investigation of infectious disease outbreaks; and the development of ways to prevent, treat and eliminate infectious diseases.

 

About the Rega Institute of Medical Research

The Rega Institute was founded in 1954 by Professor Piet De Somer and named after the 18th century philanthropist and professor Josephus Rega of Leuven. It hosts part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Since its inception, the Rega Institute hosts also the Section of Medicinal Chemistry of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and it is thus a true interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research institute. The Rega Institute has always been a jewel in the crown of research and innovation at KU Leuven on the basis of publications, citations and prestigious scientific prizes of its members.

GVN MEDIA CONTACT
Nora Samaranayake
Phone:  410-706-1966
Email:    nsamaranayake@gvn.org

A Statement From the Leadership of the Global Virus Network on the Passing of Renowned Chinese Virologist Yi Zeng

A top cancer researcher and leader in public service is mourned

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 23, 2020:  The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of the world’s preeminent human and animal virologists from 55 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 32 countries, collectively mourns the passing of Professor Yi Zeng, MD, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, former President of the Chinese Academy of the Preventive  Medicine and former Dean of the College of Life Science and Bioengineering at Beijing University of Technology. Prof. Zeng was best known for establishing the relationship of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and nasopharynx cancer, developing EBV serologic tests for nasopharynx cancer early diagnosis, and discovering the first example of co-carcinogenesis in humans, when the combination of EBV  infection and particular carcinogenic products derived from Chinese medicines and foods common to Southern China caused nasopharyngeal carcinoma.  Prof. Zeng was a founding Center Director of China’s Global Virus Network Center of Excellence and hosted GVN’s 7th International Meeting in Beijing, China in 2015.

“Prof. Yi Zeng’s loss is a tremendous one not just for China, but all of his colleagues around the world,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Co-Founder and Chairman of the International Scientific Leadership Board of the Global Virus Network (GVN). “In 2012, IHV faculty unanimously voted to honor Prof. Zeng for his lifetime of leadership in virology and cancer research.  We are saddened by this immense loss and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

“We will deeply miss Prof. Yi Zeng, whose scientific vision and commitment to the GVN have been at the heart of the cooperation with China,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of GVN and Professor at the University of South Florida.

“We are all saddened by the passing of Prof. Yi Zeng, the former president of the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, which is the predecessor of China CDC,” said George F. Gao, DVM, DPHIL (OXON), Director General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “He was a true founder of modern Chinese disease control and prevention and public health infrastructure. He will be remembered as a great scientist, a good friend and a thoughtful mentor.”

Prof. Zeng made great achievements by pioneering, two important virology research areas in China, including, tumor virology and HIV,” said Yiming Shao, MD, the Chief Expert on AIDS, China CDC, who was Prof. Zeng’s first Doctor Degree student.  “Prof. Zeng transformed tumor virology through early diagnosis of cancer, thereby saving countless lives.  He also identified the first HIV/AIDS cases and developed initial diagnostic tools in China while educating his countrymen on AIDS prevention.”

In the early 1970s, Prof. Zeng researched the relationship of the EBV and nasopharynx cancer, established a series of EBV serologic test methods for nasopharynx cancer and increased the diagnosis rate of nasopharynx cancer at the early stage from 20-30% to 80-90%. His serological index could predict the occurrence possibility of nasopharynx cancer 5 to 10 years in advance.  He discovered carcinogens in Chinese herbal medicines and foods in areas with a high incidence of nasopharynx cancer in conjunction with EBV to cause nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Prof. Zeng was also the first to establish cell lines from nasopharynx cancers with high differentiation and low differentiation and was the first in the world to prove that the human fetal nasopharyngeal mucus tissues infected with EBV, under cooperative function of carcinogen TPA and butyric acid, could develop human nasopharynx cancer in rodents. This finding provided the first direct evidence that the EB virus could induce nasopharynx cancer and at the same time provided models for studying multiple factors of nasopharynx cancer pathogenesis and their mechanisms.  Since 1984, Prof. Zeng conducted research on HIV and AIDS and proved the introduction of HIV into China by identifying the first cases of AIDS and HIV infection and isolating the first HIV-1 virus in the country. He isolated the first Chinese HIV-1 virus in 1987 and established the rapid diagnosis method for HIV.  Prof. Zeng, with his late wife Prof. Zelin Li, also discovered Chinese herbal medicines that had a high inhibitory activity of HIV replication.

“For over five decades, Prof. Zeng was a leading virologist in China,” said Lishan Su, PhD, Professor of Immunology and Virology. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Prof. Su honored Prof. Zeng with a special lecture when he received the IHV’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Service. “His pioneering work in basic/clinical research on human viruses, including EBV and HIV and on public health policy, has saved millions of human lives. Prof. Zeng also played a critical role in establishing/leading the first institute of modern medical virology to train a generation of outstanding molecular virologists. He has been respected by all, will be missed and remembered in China and around the world.”

GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training through scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in medical virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

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 55 Centers of Excellence and 10 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