Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and Singapore, August 22, 2018: The Global Virus Network (GVN) and the GVN-Singapore Center of Excellence, comprised of 7 virology research intuitions led by Duke-NUS Medical School, announced today the induction of the Singaporean coalition as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence. The GVN represents 42 Centers of Excellence and 7 affiliates in 27 countries and comprises foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans.
The announcement was made by Prof. Robert Gallo, MD, Co-founder and International Scientific Advisor of the GVN, Prof. Linfa Wang, PhD, Professor & Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS and professor at the Duke Global Health Institute, and Prof. Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN. Prof. Wang will be Director of the GVN-Singapore Center of Excellence.
“Joining the seven institutions to form GVN’s latest Center of Excellence in Singapore was a terrific idea by Prof. Linfa Wang,” said Gallo, also The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Co-founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Their combined expertise and location in Southeast Asia is integral to connecting us to virus hotspots in Singapore and the surrounding region.”
“Our established platforms from pathogen discovery, serological investigation to pathogenesis, animal models, biocontainment (up to ABSL3) challenge studies, and rapid biomarker assessment of countermeasure agents strongly positions us in the region to play an important role in all aspects of viral disease investigation,” said Wang. “We currently have a large DTRA-funded project in Southeast Asia and have just been invited to help in the current investigation of the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, India. Both initiatives serve as good examples of what the GVN-Singapore Center of Excellence can contribute to global and regional efforts in fighting and containing viral diseases.”
“We look forward to GVN-Singapore making significant contributions in many areas, especially in rapid responses to outbreaks,” said Bréchot. “It is not common that coalitions in countries come together to form a regional GVN Center of Excellence, and we are delighted that this terrific group of experts came together to become a strong member of the GVN. Their combined research will contribute greatly to our network as it encompasses pathogen biology, epidemiology, diagnostics, pathogenesis, structural biology, animal models, counter measures such as vaccines and therapeutics, and a One Health approach to emerging infectious diseases.”
The seven institutions comprising the GVN-Singapore Center of Excellence include:
Duke-NUS Medical School is a collaboration between Duke University and National University of Singapore. The program in Emerging Infectious Diseases is one of the Signature Research Programmes in the school with the mission to conduct cutting-edge infectious diseases research that will enhance healthcare in Singapore and the region. Wang will lead the GVN efforts for GVN Singapore and on behalf of Duke-NUS Medical School.
Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) was established in 2006 by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). SIgN’s mission is to advance human immunology research, contribute scientific knowledge and make innovative discoveries to improve lives and further socio-economic growth. SIgN is committed to translate research findings into clinical and commercial applications, in partnership with clinics and industry. SIgN is home to more than 210 national and international researchers and support staff led by 20 renowned Principal Investigators. The current SIgN research activities are broadly categorized into the areas of Infectious Diseases, Cancer and Immune Dysfunctions, and supported by a strong in-house cluster of cutting-edge technology platforms. Prof. Lisa Ng, PhD, Senior Principal Investigator, will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of SIgN.
Environmental Health Institute (EHI) is the research arm of Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) that conducts research, surveillance and evidence-based risk assessment on infectious diseases of environmental concern. The Institute hosts the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research of Arboviruses and their Associated Vectors. The key thrust of the Institute is to develop knowledge and advance cost-effective tools and strategies to support public health operations and policies. Associate Institute Prof. Lee Ching Ng, PhD, Director, will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of the EHI.
National Public Health Laboratory (NHPL) is an accredited laboratory under Singapore’s Ministry of Health. The laboratory performs testing for viruses of public health significance and receives clinical specimens from public hospitals in the country for surveillance and outbreak investigation. It is also responsible for detection of rare or dangerous pathogens including potential biothreats. The facilities enable virus isolation, sequencing, PCR, serology, bioinformatics and electron microscopy. A BSL3 laboratory is used for RG3 agents. Associate Prof. Raymond Lin, MBBS, FRCPA, MSc, Head and Senior Consultant, will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of the NHPL.
NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine is the medical faculty of the National University of Singapore and it is the oldest medical school in Singapore. Established in 1905 to educate and train medical professionals for Singapore, the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine is a leading medical educational and research institution in Asia. Assoc. Prof. Justin Chu, PhD at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a partnership between Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) and Imperial College London (Imperial), is training a generation of doctors who will put patients at the centre of their exemplary medical care. The School’s primary clinical partner is the National Healthcare Group, a leader in public healthcare recognised for the quality of its medical expertise, facilities and teaching. Named after local philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian, the School, which was officially opened by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on 28 August 2017, is a model for innovative medical education and a centre for transformative research. Assist. Prof. Dahai Luo, PhD, BSc will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.
DSO National Laboratories is the national defense research agency in Singapore. The Biological Defense Program is a core program within the Defense Medical & Environmental Research Institute (DMERI). The program performs R&D activities for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), developing technical competencies in diagnostics and countermeasures for a range of high risk high consequence pathogens for military operations and national emergencies. Boon Huan Tan, PhD, Director, will lead the GVN efforts on behalf of the DSO National Laboratories.
The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training through scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in human and animal virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.
The GVN, in partnership with the Fondation Mérieux (FM) and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), will convene the 10th International Global Virus Network Meeting on Eradication and Control of (Re-)Emerging Viruses in Annecy, France November 28-30. More information can be found at www.gvn.org.
About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 42 Centers of Excellence and 7 Affiliates in 27 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.