Global Virus Network (GVN) Announces Eight Distinguished International Appointments to Board of Directors

World Leaders in Business, Science, Law, Industry, Philanthropy & Government Are Committed to Supporting the GVN

Baltimore, MD, USA (April 6, 2021) – The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, today announced the election of eight distinguished global leaders to its Board of Directors.  They include Daniel J. Arbess, CIO of Xerion Investments, LLC and CEO of Xerion Precision Biosciences LLC;  Marc Bonneville, DVM, Scientific & Medical Director, Fondation Mérieux; Tomas Cihlar, PhD, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences; Lan Kennedy-Davis, JD, Partner, RumbergerKirk; Yang Liu, PhD,  Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; David Scheer, President, Scheer & Company, Inc.; Yiming Shao, MD, PhD, Chief Expert on AIDS, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice Chair, Chinese Microbiology Society and Chair Professor, Zhejiang University; Pan Zheng, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The announcement was made today by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-founder and Director, Global Virus Network (GVN) and the Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, Tim Moynahan, Chairman, The Moynahan Law Firm and Chairman, GVN Board of Directors and Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, GVN President 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.

“One of the biggest lessons we learned after discovering the first human retroviruses, including co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and developing the HIV blood test, is that researchers need a GVN to share and disseminate important information seamlessly, without government politics or financial limitations,” said Dr. Robert Gallo.  “The current pandemic is yet another example of this urgent need, and I am pleased these new distinguished Board members value the work of the GVN from the past ten years and join us in our commitment to advance science and save lives.”

“I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and their expertise to advance the mission of the GVN,” said Tim Moynahan“Whether it is in the world of science, industry, law, government, business or philanthropy, each of these leaders and their expertise are essential global assets in the collective fight against viral threats around the world.”

“We are most pleased to welcome these distinguished new members to the GVN Board of Directors,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot“From the public to private sectors, GVN Board members contribute to the management of our organization and help grow our reach in both visibility and impact around the globe.”

“I am honored to contribute to GVN’s core mission of advancing collaborative science, global consensus, communication and pandemic preparedness,” said Daniel J. Arbess, CEO of Xerion Precision Biosciences, LLC.  Mr. Arbess is a multi-asset class investor, lawyer and social entrepreneur whose 35-year career has been defined by engagement as an adviser, investor and entrepreneur across of range of significant geopolitical, economic and healthcare developments.

“Joining the GVN network gives me the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable initiative and to participate in the major challenge of coordinating expertise to better prepare for future epidemics,” said Marc Bonneville, DVM, Scientific & Medical Director, Fondation Mérieux.  Dr. Bonneville is an accomplished immunologist with previous leadership positions at INSERM, Institut Mérieux and the Alliance for Research and Innovation of Healthcare Industries (ARIIS).

“I am excited to join the GVN board,” said Tomas Cihlar, PhD, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences.   “It is dynamic and a quickly growing organization with a real impact not only on global virology science and education, but also on critical aspects of pandemic preparedness.”  Dr. Cihlar coordinates Gilead’s preclinical antiviral research across HIV, hepatitis, respiratory, and emerging viruses.  He has contributed to the development and regulatory approval of multiple antiviral therapies including many Gilead’s antiretrovirals and their combinations and led the preclinical and early clinical development of remdesivir.

“I am honored to work with such esteemed experts in their field and to be a part of GVN’s worldwide humanitarian efforts,” said Lan Kennedy-Davis, JD, Partner, RumbergerKirk.  Ms. Kennedy-Davis is a premier commercial litigation and corporate transactional attorney whose practice focuses on general and complex litigation and corporate transactions, including business and shareholder matters, intellectual property disputes, bankruptcy litigation and high stakes and assets family law cases. She has a strong business background, is an economist and a former business consultant to Fortune 500 companies and international entrepreneurs.

“We are so pleased to contribute our understanding of inflammation to a global effort to confront the heath challenges from viral infection,” said Yang Liu, PhD, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Liu’s academic research includes the fundamental mechanisms of immune recognition, cell metabolism and cancer biology, and is a driving force in elucidating the mechanisms by which the innate immune system discriminates microbial infection and aseptic tissue injuries.

“I am proud to have been formally elected to serve on the Board of the GVN, an organization which has unique importance in the world today as we face the challenges of the current and potential future pandemics,” said David Scheer, President, Scheer & Company, Inc.  “I am particularly thrilled to work with the other members of the Board and with Bob Gallo, whom I have known since the late 1970s.” Mr. Scheer is an advisor and serial entrepreneur in the life sciences including building two antiviral drug development companies.  His career includes providing corporate strategic and transactional advisory services in the life sciences industry.  He also had a longstanding career in the global and public health arenas, working with some of the top researchers, thought-leaders.  He led a bioscience task force in Connecticut that gave rise to the Reopen CT Advisory Group, of which he served as a member, working with the State and its Governor to reopen in May of 2020.

“It is of paramount importance to keep a voice of independent virologists through the GVN in the era of viral pandemics and in a pan-politicized world,” said Yiming Shao, MD, PhD, Chief Expert on AIDS, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice Chair, Chinese Microbiology Society and Chair Professor, Zhejiang University.  “Only such a voice can help stop harmful, global conspiracies spreading during the COVID-19 pandemic and rightfully focus efforts to fight the virus together, instead of blaming each other.” Dr. Shao’s many accomplishments include isolating China’s first HIV strain, leading a national task force to build national laboratory networks for HIV diagnosis, molecular epidemiology and drug resistance surveillance, and conducting HIV vaccine research based on replicating vaccinia vector that concluded phase I/II clinical trials.  He serves on the WHO Vaccine Product Development for Vaccine Advisory Committee and HIV Cure Advisory Committee of International AIDS Society.

“We are delighted to be part of GVN to translate basic knowledge to clinical care of patients,” said Pan Zheng, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Zheng’s academic research focuses on immuno-oncology and inflammation. Dr. Zheng was trained in anatomic and clinical pathology and is a board-certified Physician with the American Board of Pathology.

Both Drs. Liu and Zheng co-founded OcnoImmune, Inc. until its acquisition by Merck, Inc. Drs. Liu and Zheng designed and executed the clinical trials for the company, including most recently a Phase III clinical trial, in conjunction with colleagues at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, establishing strong therapeutic efficacy of CD24Fc for hospitalized severe and critical COVID-19 patients.

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 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 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
[email protected]

A Statement From the Leadership of the Global Virus Network on the Passing of Dr. John Martin

An Outstanding Clinical Scientist, A Dedicated Humanitarian, An Astute Businessman, An Effective Global Leader, and A True Friend

Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2021: The Global Virus Network, the world’s leading coalition of virologists combatting current and emerging pandemic viral threats and viral causes of disease through international collaborative research response, mourns the passing of its good friend and fellow GVN Board of Directors member, John Martin, PhD.  Dr. Martin was an outstanding clinical scientist, astute businessman and global leader.  His leadership in drug development, particularly for HIV and hepatitis B and C, along with his generous philanthropy, saved many lives.

“John Martin is irreplaceable and his passing is a devastating loss to many,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor and 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, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “The fields of medicine and science have many notable leaders who contribute to public health. But it is John’s leadership at Gilead Sciences that stands out and resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. Further, the global public health response to HIV/AIDS was immensely facilitated by John, which is unique among the global pharmaceutical industry. His humanitarian leadership resulted in more than 10 million HIV infected persons receiving lifesaving therapies with the best drugs available.  His life’s work lives on in those he mentored and in The John C. Martin Foundation, among many others. We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family, especially his life partner, Lillian Lou.  Our very close friend will be greatly missed.”

Dr. Martin was an exceptional individual whose towering leadership of Gilead Sciences led to a profound impact on human viral diseases worldwide.  His leadership resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza.  More importantly, Dr. Martin recognized the importance of making these critical therapeutic advancements available not just to the wealthy nations of the world, but worldwide, to include even those infected persons in the most impoverished regions of the globe.  He developed a sustainable system that is treating an accelerating number of persons in low income countries, thus producing a program that has measurable results and demonstrates enormous impact on global health.

“John Martin’s contribution in virology and also as a member of GVN’s Board was immense, particularly in bringing us together with the pharmaceutical industry,” 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.  “He was an extraordinary example of what academic science can offer when it is associated with an entrepreneurial mindset.  We will deeply miss his guidance and expertise and GVN will work to honor his legacy in all that we do.”

“I am deeply saddened by John Martin’s sudden passing,” said Tomas Cihlar, PhD, GVN Board of Directors Member, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences, Inc. “His scientific knowledge and business vision combined with genuine passion to bring much needed treatment for devastating viral infections not only to the privileged, but equally so to the underserved communities was truly unparalleled in our society. We all will miss John sorely.”

“John and I shared many wonderful scientific and clinical milestones over four decades,” said Raymond Schinazi, PhD, GVN Board of Directors Member, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, GVN Center Director, Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, Emory University, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “My happiest memory was when John agreed to provide Sovaldi to Egypt and the Republic of Georgia, thus, saving millions of lives in these low-income countries. He deserves our eternal gratitude for these, and many other, actions and will be dearly missed.”

Dr. John Martin joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was Executive Chairman from March 2016 through March 2019. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 through March 2016, and President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 through May 2008. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. Martin held several leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Corporation. He invented ganciclovir in 1982 and contributed to the research, development and commercialization of a number of antiviral drugs active against HIV, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and hepatitis B and C.

In addition to the GVN, Dr. Martin served on the Board of Directors of Kronos Bio and The Scripps Research Institute. He previously served as President of the International Society for Antiviral Research, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BayBio, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI). He served on the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Council, the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Board of Directors for CHI, the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago, the Board of Trustees of Golden Gate University and the External Scientific Advisory Board of the University of California School of Global Health. Additionally, Dr. Martin served on the Centers for Disease Control/Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment and was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Martin holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BS degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He received the Isbell Award from the American Chemical Society and the Gertrude B. Elion Award for Scientific Excellence from the International Society for Antiviral Research. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies. In 2014, Dr. Martin received the IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service.  In 2019, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society.

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 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 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
[email protected]

Global Virus Network (GVN) Catalyzes World Health Organization (WHO) to Officially Recognize HTLV-1 as Threatening Pathogen to Humans

March 29, 2021

During GVN’s 9th International Meeting in Melbourne, Australia on September 25-27, 2017 in partnership with the Peter Doherty Institute and the Institut Pasteur, researchers held impressive sessions on one of the most potent human carcinogens, human T cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1).  The sessions were organized by Dr. Sharon Lewin, Director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Director of Doherty’s GVN Center of Excellence and Dr. Damian Purcell, member of GVN’s HTLV-1 Task Force and Head of the Molecular Virology Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Doherty.  In particular, Dr. Lloyd Einsiedel, a member of the GVN HTLV-1 Task Force and of Baker Institute in Australia, reported serious HTLV-1 endemic cases in Central Australia.

The group of renowned scientists and activists were moved by the presentations to call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the promotion of proven, effective transmission prevention strategies on this debilitating and deadly virus.  An abbreviated version of the letter, Time to eradicate HTLV-1: an open letter to WHO, co-authored by Dr. Robert Gallo, Co-Founder, International Scientific Advisor to the GVN and member of GVN’s HTLV-1 Task Force and The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence; Dr. Fabiola Martin, member of GVN’s HTLV-1 Task Force and a Sexual Health, HIV and HTLV Physician and scientist based in Brisbane/Australia; and Dr. Yutaka Tagaya, member of GVN’s HTLV-1 Task Force and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, was published in The Lancet online and in the print May 12, 2017 issue.  The full letter, with many signatories, was published on the GVN website.  The call-to-action was covered by major global media and scientific journals including CNN, ABC, The Guardian, Science and Nature Medicine, among others.

Since 2017, GVN members such as Dr. Eduardo Gotuzzo, member of GVN’s HTLV-1 Task Force and GVN Center Director of the Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Alexander von Humboldt” IMTAvH of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), have worked with Ministers of Health around the globe to also call on the WHO to recognize HTLV-1 as a threatening pathogen to humans.

In late 2018, the WHO organized a review on HTLV-1, including on its epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical impacts and invited the scientific community to assist. Dr. John Kaldor of the Kirby Institute of Australia, and a member of the GVN HTLV-1 Task Force, was chosen by the WHO to assemble a team and provide a review on the issue. Dr, Andrew Ball, the Senior Strategy and Operations Adviser in the Department of HIV/AIDS of WHO, subsequently organized a meeting in Tokyo in March 2019 and invited over 50 researchers/clinicians/patient representatives to the meeting to discuss a consensus on recommendations for the WHO relating to HTLV-1. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Toshiki Watanabe of University of Tokyo, the President of the International Retrovirology Association (IRVA) and a member of the GVN HTLV-1 Task Force.  The meeting was published in February 2021.

Finally, in March 2021, catalyzed by GVN’s initiative and commitment by its members, the WHO published several articles recognizing HTLV-1 as a relevant pathogen to humans.

While the sudden outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has slowed down the process, the WHO has finally properly recognized the threat of HTLV-1 to humans. We expect that this action will influence the scientific community, public health agencies in many countries, pharmaceutical industry and even investors to focus their attention and funding in support of research, drug development, clinical treatment, and social environment to combat HTLV-1.

GLOBAL VIRUS NETWORK (GVN) ADDS SANOFI PASTEUR TO GVN HEALTHCARE & PHARMA CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE COALITION

The Partnership Focuses on Training The Next Generation of Virus Researchers to Safeguard Mankind from Current and Future Threats

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 23, 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 Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, 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,  Jim Tartaglia, PhD, Vice-President R&D, Sanofi Pasteur 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 such as 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.

“I am pleased to announce that the GVN is launching our Healthcare and Pharma Center of Excellence Coalition to bring industry partners together in a collaborative, consequential and meaningful way,” said Dr. Bréchot.  “Pharmaceutical industry leaders, such as Sanofi Pasteur and other coalition members such as Abbott, add tremendous value to the field of virology with vast resources towards training and research and development, as well as a commitment to advance scientific data.”

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.

“Sanofi Pasteur is a world leader in influenza and pediatric and booster vaccines and the largest supplier of polio injectable vaccines worldwide,” said Dr. Tartaglia. “We are dedicated to supporting people’s well-being through world-class collaborations that span major universities, research institutes, government bodies, biotechnology companies and contract research organizations.  The GVN provides a unique platform for our company’s researchers to collaborate with top global experts and advance, research and training opportunities.  The current pandemic has re-enforced the need for such collaboration and we are excited to work with the GVN to expand these efforts.”

“We look forward to growing GVN’s industry partnerships with organizations such as 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,” said Dr. Gallo.  “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 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 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 Renowned Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) to Combat Viral Diseases

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 22, 2021: The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) announced today the addition of the IPK as  GVN’s newest Center of Excellence.

“We are pleased to strengthen GVN’s presence in Asia with the terrific addition of IPK,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, who is President of the GVN and Professor at the University of South Florida.  “As a member of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), IPK has excellent opportunities for scientific cooperation with 31 other IPIN members located in 25 countries, in addition to the Global Virus Network’s reach.”

The Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) is an international research institute focused on addressing global health issues with a combination of cutting-edge approaches in order to understand disease mechanisms and develop new treatments. By promoting multi-disciplinary projects, IPK is at the forefront of drug discovery and contributes to Korea’s future scientific resources through research, education, and technological innovation.  The latest GVN Center is led by Youngmee Jee, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of the Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister in health and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy, Korea Foundation.

“IPK is pleased to join our South Korean colleagues at the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) as a Center of Excellence of the GVN,” said Dr. Jee. “We look forward to contributing to the GVN Task Forces, such as GVN’s Coronavirus Task Force, leveraging translational technology with interdisciplinary research efforts, establishing exchange programs, engaging in training, participating in prominent GVN meetings and expanding international collaborative projects with the GVN on emerging infectious diseases.”

IPK combines front-line biology, IT, and chemistry, with innovative cell-based drug discovery platforms that identify novel molecular targets for potential new therapies to treat diseases. With world-class drug discovery capabilities and a talented team drawn from all over the world, IPK scientists aim to uncover various physiological and pathological processes to devise new strategies for diagnosing, preventing, and treating infectious diseases. IPK currently focuses on global infectious diseases that represent today’s health challenges, such as emerging zoonotic and vector-borne diseases such as SARS-CoV2, MERS-CoV, Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS), Zika virus, Dengue virus, and Ebola virus, as well as hepatitis viruses (B, C, D, and E), influenza, and has a plan to establish a comprehensive platform for therapeutics research on emerging viral diseases (Disease X).

“South Korea, and in particular IPK and IVI, are instrumental in expanding not just GVN’s reach, but unparalleled expertise and commitment to drive scientific truth above all else,” 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 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 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 Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK)

Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) is an infectious disease-focused research institute located in the Rep. of Korea. To address the unmet global health issues, the talented team of IPK drawn from worldwide utilizes the proprietary cell-based screening platforms to understand disease mechanisms and accelerate the new therapeutics discovery. IPK is a member of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), constituting 32 member institutes in 25 countries across the five continents, where it plays a key role in driving early drug discovery. By providing fundamental technologies to bridge between Korean and international bio-pharma science and promoting multi-disciplinary projects, IPK stands at the forefront of drug discovery research that contributes to Korea’s scientific, intellectual, and technical resources. (www.ip-korea.org)

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
410-706-1966
[email protected]

Jieun Kim, IPK
+82-31-8018-8041
[email protected]

Philanthropist Donates US$1 Million to Global Virus Network: Anonymous Gift Will Support Educational & Training Initiatives

Largest Gift In The Organization’s History Coincides With The Tenth Anniversary of the Founding of the Global Virus Network

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 2, 2021: 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, today announced the donation of US$1 million to support GVN’s Academy, an initiative that fosters global collaborations by providing training and mentoring programs for rising junior virologists.  With the new funds, GVN launches the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the GVN Rising Star Program.  The charitable contribution is especially meaningful as the GVN marks ten years since top virologists from more than a dozen countries ratified their participation in, and support of, the then newly created GVN at the inaugural meeting held March 1-3, 2011 at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C.

“We are extremely grateful for the philanthropist’s generous donation to advance GVN’s mission, particularly in helping to prepare mankind for future viral threats through international, post-doctoral fellowship programs and education initiatives,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, 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.  “The donation is especially meaningful as GVN marks ten years since its inception.  As GVN’s founders noted from the beginning, gaining experience through academia will help translate the next-generation virologists’ concepts into practical solutions to meet the global, public-health needs of the future.”

During the inaugural meeting ten years ago, GVN members identified a global shortage of rising virologists in basic, clinical and translational research, particularly in low income countries.   Since then, GVN senior virologists have committed to sharing their invaluable expertise with junior virologists through mentorship and intensive training at the GVN to better prepare the next generation against global viral threats.

“As if it wasn’t already clear enough when we first created the GVN, this current pandemic again highlights the importance of funding science and the next generation of virologists in an effort to stay ahead of deadly viral pandemics,”  said Dr. Robert Gallo, 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.  “Scientific research challenges such as the evolving nature of SARS-CoV-2 and developing an effective preventive HIV vaccine candidate abound.  It is incumbent upon my colleagues and me to cultivate an environment to advance and train burgeoning researchers, and to prepare them to take collective responsibility for current and future viral threats.  We are most grateful to our donor for giving us a significant opportunity to do just this.”

The GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program will train two postdoctoral researchers during a two-year term with the option to rotate among two GVN Centers of Excellence.  Participants of the program will engage in GVN annual and regional meetings during their two-year term, exposing them to top virology experts and cutting-edge research initiatives.  Fellows may also collaborate with GVN’s growing list of industry partners.

The GVN Rising Star Program will mentor 15 bright, junior scientists over the course of two years and match each mentee with a GVN senior virologist to provide one-on-one research and career guidance.  Participants of the program will also engage in the elite GVN annual and regional meetings.

“Like all of my colleagues at the GVN, mentors have helped shape my career,” said Dr. Sharon Lewin, Director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Director of Doherty’s GVN Center of Excellence.  “I am pleased to support these terrific GVN mentorship programs and look forward to fostering an environment of support and opportunity to guide and inspire career paths of early investigators.  I would also like to congratulate the GVN on ten years of making a real global impact, including building collaborative research alliances, advancing the field of virology and educating governments, public health organizations and the public at large on current and future viral threats.”

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 61 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 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:
GVN
Nora Samaranayake
410-706-1966
[email protected]

Global Virus Network Names USF Health the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters

Baltimore, Maryland, USA (Feb. 23, 2021) — The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprising the world’s foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, today announced that USF Health, at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Fla., will serve as GVN’s Southeast United States Regional Headquarters.

USF Health is the first regional headquarters named by GVN to provide organizational and leadership support to GVN’s Global Headquarters in Baltimore, Md. In that capacity, USF Health will help strengthen GVN’s initial research response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, and its collaborative efforts to plan for, and defend against, future epidemics and pandemics.

GVN encompasses virologists from 61 centers of excellence and 11 affiliates in 34 nations – all working to prevent illness and death from viral diseases posing threats to humanity. Bridging academia, government and industry, the coalition is internationally recognized as an authority and resource for identifying, investigating, interpreting, explaining, controlling, and suppressing viral diseases.

“USF Health is delighted to be a leading contributor to GVN’s administration, and to support and promote GVN’s virology research and public health policies. With our growing strength in infectious diseases at USF Health, the university is also well positioned to help GVN train and mentor the future leaders who can find new solutions to protect us against contagious diseases,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, president of the GVN; associate vice president for International Partnerships and Innovation at 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 based at USF Health will encompass the four health sciences colleges of the university: the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, and the USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy. USF Health is an integral part of USF, a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF.

“USF Health has already been supporting GVN’s administrative efforts, and we are pleased to officially recognize their past efforts and ongoing efforts to advance the GVN by naming USF Health as the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters,” said  Dr. Robert Gallo, GVN co-founder and international scientific advisor, who is also The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

In addition to their leadership roles at GVN Global Headquarters in Baltimore, Md., Dr. Bréchot and GVN Vice President Linman Li of the USF Health Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine will lead the new GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters and focus on regional efforts to expand government and other research funding, as well as research and training initiatives. The regional headquarters designation will enable USF Health scientists to partner with GVN experts worldwide to share ideas and research, to translate research into practical applications, to improve diagnostics and therapies, and to develop vaccines.

“We look forward to partnering with the Global Virus Network to advance the coalition’s leading work in viral research and evidence-based responses to epidemics and pandemics,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “The appearance of COVID-19 has transformed society almost beyond recognition, with lasting implications for health care, the economy and our social and psychological well-being. Together we can, and we must, be better prepared to meet the challenges of the next emerging virus.”

When new outbreaks arise, such as what happened with SARS-CoV-2, GVN experts stand ready to provide critical insights needed for infectious disease containment and prevention. The new partnership will help increase the authority, leadership, and visibility of USF Health and GVN in virology at the regional, national, and international levels.

GVN members collaborate on science-driven, independent research in many areas, including immunology and vaccines, antiviral drug therapy, virus-host interaction, diagnostic virology and epidemiology, morphogenesis and structural biology, emerging and re-emerging viruses, viruses as biotechnological tools, and trending topics in virology. They also train the next generation of virologists to combat the epidemics of the future.

 

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 comprising eminent human and animal virologists from 61 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation of virologists, 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 USF Health
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the Taneja College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and USF Health’s multispecialty physicians group. The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. For more information, visit health.usf.edu

GVN media contact:
Nora Samaranayake
Phone: 410-706-1966; Email: [email protected]

USF Health media contact:
Sarah Worth
Phone: 813-928-0861; Email: [email protected]

GLOBAL VIRUS NETWORK (GVN) ADDS FOUR PREEMINENT ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS TO STRENGTHEN GLOBAL COLLABORATION IN VIRAL RESEARCH AND RESPONSE TO PANDEMICS

The Four New GVN Members Form Three New Centers of Excellence and One Affiliate from Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and North America

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, January 28, 2021: 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 three new Centers of Excellence including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands and the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health in the United States of America (USA), and one Affiliate,  the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago through GVN’s Center of Excellence in HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory in the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY), USA. The latest additions bolster GVN to 61 Centers of Excellence, with 11 Affiliates in 34 nations.  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.

“We look forward to working with each of these esteemed new members to combat the current pandemic emergency and plan for, and mitigate, future outbreaks,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, President of the GVN and Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation, Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

”These new Centers and Affiliate offer not just deeper global reach, but encompass some of the world’s most cutting-edge science and thought leadership,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, GVN co-founder and international scientific advisor, who is also The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Chinese Academy of Sciences, offers, among other world-leading expertise, valuable resources in bat viruses and coronaviruses and will be an important Center for studying response to emerging viral diseases.

“I support increasing global collaborations and transparency in science, particularly related to this current pandemic crisis,” said Dr. Zhengli Shi, Professor at WIV and director of GVN’s new Center in China.  “In addition to sharing our coronavirus research and any new breakthroughs with my fellow colleagues at the GVN, I am also looking forward to sharing my experience in Africa, particularly the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service, regarding our surveillance studies in bats, rodents and camels in East Africa.”

Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands is renowned for conducting research in innate immunity, non-specific vaccines, targeting leukocytes, and metabolic differentiation, especially against coronaviruses.

“I am looking forward to increasing my collaborations with the GVN,” said Dr. Mihai Netea, a GVN Task Force member who will direct the new Center, and who also heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “I am pleased that our research in understanding the factors influencing variability of human immune responses, the biology of sepsis and immunoparalysis in bacterial and fungal infections, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity is already helping to shape GVN’s thought-leadership on utilizing innate immunity to mitigate our current pandemic and future ones.”

The Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in the USA leads major genomic studies of Lassa virus, Ebola virus, and Zika virus and have carried out extensive work in virology and microbial diagnostics, including contributions to the development of innovative technologies.

“My lab has contributed to a range of fields including human and microbial genomics, information theory, and infectious disease diagnostics and surveillance, while developing new and cutting-edge diagnostic and computational technologies for outbreak prevention and response,” said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, a Professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), who will direct the GVN Center.  “Together with the GVN, we can expand our study of pandemic resilience in the future.”

The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago routinely investigates a variety of important human and animal pathogens vectored by mosquito, tick, culicoides and bats including dengue, Chikungunya, Zika and bat coronaviruses, and will contribute to many of GVN’s initiatives. UWI St. Augustine joins the GVN as an Affiliate through GVN’s Center of Excellence in HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA.

“We look forward to working with our GVN collaborators, particularly at the University at Buffalo, SUNY to share our expertise in viral epidemiology research, as well as, to participating in broader training programs to enhance our virus research capacity,” said Dr. Christine Carrington, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at UWI St. Augustine and Director of the new GVN Affiliate.

Dr. Gene D. Morse, Distinguished Professor and Director at the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, SUNY who leads the GVN Center of Excellence said, “I am pleased to see my colleagues from Trinidad and Tobago come under the GVN umbrella. I look forward to helping them share resources with the GVN, test and develop antiviral therapies and biomarkers, promote translational science and build infrastructure and capacity for global virology research.”

GVN members collaborate on research areas including immunology and vaccines, antiviral drug therapy, virus-host interaction, diagnostic virology and epidemiology, morphogenesis and structural biology, emerging and re-emerging viruses, viruses as biotechnological tools and trending topics in virology. GVN is at the frontline of virology research to share knowledge, collaborate, and train the next generation of virologists as effective tools to combat epidemics of the future.

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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, 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 comprising eminent human and animal virologists from 61 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation of virologists, 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 CONTACTS:

Chandrani Raysarkar
Phone: 240-535-1574; Email: [email protected]
Nora Samaranayake
Phone: 410-706-1966; Email: [email protected]

A Statement from the Global Virus Network (GVN) on the Need for Innovative Strategies to Mitigate SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Expand Vaccination Strategies

BaltimoreMaryland, USA, January 15, 2021: As hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19 continue to surge around the world, it will be imperative to quickly distribute the vaccines that are proven to at least show short-term protection and overall safety. Combining vaccine distribution to protective measures (mask, physical distancing and hand washing) and novel approaches to treatment, offers, for the first time since the beginning of this pandemic, valid hope in mitigating the virus outbreak and returning the world to normal life. Yet, there are hurdles and challenges to overcome, namely, the emergence of viral variants and the potential shortage of vaccine doses. In this context, experts of the Global Virus Network (GVN) are joining forces and expertise to address these points and offer solutions.

The Mutations

The rapid global spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants that have emerged from the UK and South Africa have brought great concern.  Epidemiological and modeling studies have shown their increased transmissibility, yet, these studies also show that the new variants do not significantly affect disease severity and mortality. These variants contain several mutations. Importantly, the two variants contain the N501Y mutation in the spike protein that can increase binding affinity of the virus to its host receptor, ACE2. Moreover, the variant from South Africa shows the E484K mutation that might, at least theoretically, enable the virus to escape the host’s immune response.

GVN experts are studying how these mutations affect currently available vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. A recent study showed that the 501Y mutation did not drastically affect the activity of neutralizing antibodies in convalescent serum. The effect of the E484K mutation on immune evasion and reinfection is currently characterized by using convalescent sera. The front-runner vaccine companies, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have stated that their vaccines can be effective against these variants. Since the vaccines are designed to elicit robust levels of polyclonal neutralizing antibodies, these minor changes may not greatly reduce protective efficacy of vaccines. However, this needs to be evaluated by using live viruses of variants. Also, a most important question regarding current and future vaccines is their impact on cellular immunity — which should be key for controlling the emergence of such variants. For diagnostics, the mutations in the spike proteins might lead to a failure in RT-PCR assay, and thus, targeting the consensus sequences for primer design would be required.

The Vaccine Strategies

Other than the development of mutations, another challenge relates to the potential shortage of doses in the context of mass vaccination programs to curb the current pandemic. Since last December, several COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorization by regulators. These vaccines so far require two doses of vaccinations. Limited capacity by vaccine manufacturers are making it difficult to secure sufficient doses of vaccines to rapidly vaccinate as many people as possible and stop viral transmission. To boost their effort, the UK government has altered the vaccination regimen with the second dose of both vaccines being postponed to 12 weeks (as opposed to the recommend 21 and 28 days respectively) after the first dose. Other countries are also considering the same strategy.

GVN’s Collective Expert Opinion and Recommendations

GVN experts emphasize the need to urgently obtain data and evidence-based decisions on the strategy to extend the second dose timing to 12 weeks, or beyond what has already been tested in clinical trials. Indeed, GVN experts have several concerns about protective efficacy, vaccine safety and generation of new variants. Thus, GVN recommends additional and innovative studies to address several other possibilities for overcoming the shortage of vaccines and also to reinforce vaccine efficacy and duration of effect, such as using: (1) half the amount of vaccine for prime and boost vaccinations  (2) heterologous prime and boost immunization by a combination of a COVID-19 vaccine and a non-specific effect of vaccine (i.e., BCG and oral poliovirus vaccine), and (3) heterologous prime and boost immunization by a combination of different COVID-19 vaccines (i.e., use of Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines). GVN suggests launching well-designed clinical studies immediately so that the world can quickly learn which strategy is most effective. Experts in GVN Centers and Affiliates stand ready to collaborate and evaluate these vaccine strategies and extend their collective efforts to generate novel therapeutics.

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 comprising eminent human and animal virologists from 61 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation of virologists, 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

ROBERT GALLO OF THE UM SCHOOL OF MEDICINE INSTITUTE OF HUMAN VIROLOGY AND GLOBAL VIRUS NETWORK AWARDED TOP LIFE SCIENCES AND MEDICINE PRIZE FROM CHINA

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, December 21, 2020: Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, co-founder and director of the Institute Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co-founder and international scientific advisor of the Global Virus Network, was awarded the “VCANBIO Award for Biosciences and Medicine,” a significant and authoritative award in the life sciences and medicine field of China.  The elite Prize is jointly presented by the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the VCANBIO CELL & GENE ENGINEERING CORP, LTD to push forward scientific research, technological innovation and continuous development in the life sciences and medicine field of China.

“The Prize also serves to facilitate the industrial development and application of innovative life science achievements,” said George F. Gao, DVM, DPHIL (OXON), Director General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), Director, CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Professor, Institute of Microbiology, Dean of the Medical School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Director of China’s Global Virus Network Center of Excellence.  “Dr. Gallo is a pioneer in virus research and most worthy of this Prize.  We are pleased to see him recognized by many members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

“Hosted by the Medical School of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, this award commends outstanding and innovative Chinese and foreign scientists, who have accomplished innovation achievements and breakthroughs in the life sciences and medicine field,” said Yiming Shao, MD, the Chief Expert on AIDS, China CDC, Director of the Division of Research on Virology and Immunology, National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, China and Member of the GVN SARS-CoV-2 Task Force and China GVN.  “I have worked with Dr. Gallo through the decades and admire his intellect and leadership, which have led to discoveries that have broad implications in protecting mankind from viral threats.  I am delighted that my Chinese colleagues are recognizing him with this significant honor.”

“Prof. Gallo has made a great deal of contribution to promote the Sino-American friendship and collaboration, especially for medical talent training and public health in China,” said Prof. Guanhua Xu, Chairman of the selection committee of the VCANBIO Award for Biosciences and Medicine.

“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Dr. Gallo,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.  “Dr. Gallo has dedicated his career to building international collaborations that have produced major scientific discoveries in human virology, including with leading scientists and academic colleagues in China. As a result, the Institute of Human Virology continues to be recognized as the global leader in the fight against chronic viral diseases.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this esteemed Prize from my colleagues in China,” said Dr. Robert Gallo“I take this opportunity to stress that it is imperative that government and politics not interfere with science, and that my Chinese and American colleagues, who have a long history of collaborating together and contributing scientific breakthroughs to protect humanity from global health threats, continue to have the freedom to do so and to grow these collaborations.”

A Distinguished Scientific Career Advancing Global Health

Dr. Robert Gallo has long believed in the necessity of international cooperation and collaboration in medical sciences in general, and infectious diseases in particular, in part to build global friendships and advance humanitarian principles. Though entertainment and sports facilitate such connections he believes the “knots” are tied best through medical sciences. Throughout his 30 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and more recently his nearly 25 years at Baltimore’s Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he has fostered these connections.  First, through his pioneering scientific discoveries including his discovery in 1976 of Interleukin-2, the first cytokine, a growth regulating substance now used as immune therapy in some cancers and in autoimmune diseases when suppressive T cells are needed.  Then in 1980, the first human retrovirus, HTLV-1, a cause of human leukemia and paralytic neurological diseases as well as severe inflammatory disorders, which is endemic in some regions such as parts of Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Japan, Aboriginal Australians, Iran and South America. Dr. Gallo and his team developed a blood test for HTLV-1 applicable to all countries which protects people receiving blood transfusions that would be contaminated with this virus. Similarly, in 1984, when he and his team co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS they also developed the HIV blood test for the world and made their reagents available to all.  Dr. Gallo and his team established collaborations in HIV/AIDS research, education, therapy and care for many African countries, particularly in Nigeria and some Caribbean nations. During the current pandemic he quickly became involved in initiating preventive measures against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 disease through the idea of stimulating innate immunity with “live” virus vaccines such as the oral polio vaccine. Dr. Gallo, abetted by his collaborator, Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, 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 and his clinical colleague, Shyam Kottilil, MBBS, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Clinical Care and Research Division of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and senior advisor at the GVN, are advising on trials in India and in discussion about trials in Mexico, Brazil, Uzbekistan and China. He has also fostered the international nature of his research by hosting students beyond the U.S., including post-doctoral senior scientists from Asia, Middle East, Europe, the Americas and many African nations.

However, nothing demonstrates his concern for medical science cooperation more than when he established the idea for the Global Virus Network (GVN), which he co-founded in 2011 with the late Prof. Reinhard Kurth, MD, formerly Director of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, and Prof. William Hall, BSc, PhD, MD, DTMH, of University College Dublin. Now, GVN is headed by its President Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD.  The GVN was formed to advance medical and zoological science without any government influence, giving members of the GVN maximum freedom to speak freely while encouraging all nations to be involved. China, among several dozen other countries, has an active Center of Excellence within the GVN and was the site of the 7th meeting of the GVN in May 2015 held in Beijing and hosted by the late GVN Center Director, Zeng Yi of Beijing University of Technology. Experts shared information on varying viral threats, including those causing hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis, HIV, measles, influenza, dengue and chikungunya, to name a few. GVN members also reviewed strategies at the center of the organization including the creation of specialized task forces and the launch of training programs to address growing viral threats.

A History with Chinese-American Collaborations

Dr. Gallo had a deep friendship with Dr. Robert Ting who came to the U.S. as a child refugee from Shanghai during the Japanese invasion. As a student, Dr. Ting worked with the famous Italian molecular biologist, Dr. Salvatore Luria at MIT, who won a Nobel Prize. Dr. Ting then went to Caltech to work with another Italian Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Renato Dulbecco and they were joined by two others who were soon to be Nobel Prize winners, Drs. Howard Temin and David Baltimore. Dr. Ting was not just Dr. Gallo’s friend but also his teacher by introducing him to Chinese culture and food, tennis, and the field of virology. Soon after meeting Dr. Ting, another Chinese-born and educated young man, Dr. Alan Wu, came to Dr. Gallo’s lab from Toronto bringing with him the knowledge and skills of blood stem cells. There were then several other Chinese post-doctoral fellows culminating with Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal from Canton Province and who played a very major role in advancing molecular biology on Dr. Gallo’s team for about 15 years. Dr. Nancy Chang, also Chinese, came as a visiting scientist on a few occasions. On one such time she was key to the development of the second-generation HIV blood test used around the world.

In 2009, with the help of a University of Maryland School of Medicine colleague, Dr. Richard Zhao, born in China and educated in the U.S., the Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) announced the establishment of the Shandong Gallo Institute of Virology (SGIV). The announcement was made simultaneously with a ceremony to establish China’s first Molecular Diagnostic Center for Personalized Healthcare (MDCPH), which was a joint venture among the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific and SGIV at the Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences. The mission of the SGIV is to promote the basic science of virology especially in the area of HIV/AIDS and other important and emerging viral diseases and to facilitate translational research and clinical trials for related diseases. SGIV also aims to provide molecular-based testing for disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment in the area of individualized molecular testing for personalized medicine.

Since the founding of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV), Dr. Gallo notes that several of his key science leaders at the Institute of Human Virology came from China, including: Dr. Wuyuan Lu (recent Director of the Division of Infectious Agents and Cancer), Dr. Yang Liu (recent Director of the Division of Immunotherapy), Dr. Pan Zheng (Division of Immunotherapy), Dr. Lishan Su (current Director of the Division of Virology, Pathogenesis and Cancer), Dr. Man Charurat (current Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention and Ciheb) and Dr. Lai-Xi Wang (formerly at IHV and now at University of Maryland, College Park).  With each of these leaders also came labs full of Chinese colleagues, who Dr. Gallo states contributed greatly to advancing America’s biomedical research.  Further, over the past six decades, Dr. Gallo visited China countless times to discuss potential collaborations with public and private sector entities, mentored rising Chinese scientists and facilitated open scientific discussions to advance the field of human virology, among other important things.

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 57 Centers of Excellence and 11 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
443-823-0613
[email protected]