The partnership is training the next generation of virologists to combat future pandemic threats, with a focus on pathogen discovery in developing nations
Baltimore, Maryland, USA, April 6, 2022 – The Global Virus Network (“GVN”), the world’s leading coalition of virologists combatting current and emerging pandemic viral threats, and Abbott, the global healthcare company, announce the GVN – Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aimed at building the pipeline of virus hunters to improve pandemic preparedness and health security across the world.
The program will provide the latest scientific training in new pathogen discovery, genomic sequencing, and laboratory analysis led by leading virologists and clinicians from across GVN’s 68 centers of excellence and affiliates in 36 countries.
To prepare for the next pandemic, the world needs more virologists. Within a few decades, Duke’s Global Health Institute estimates that novel disease outbreaks will likely increase three-fold, driven by globalization, population growth and closer contact between humans and animals. The WHO recommends a global ratio of one field epidemiologist for every 200,000 people. Only a fraction of countries have met that goal.
“SARS-CoV-2 highlights the importance of funding science and the next generation of virologists in an effort to stay ahead of deadly pandemics,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN. “We are pleased to join Abbott to ensure these scientists receive topflight training in the identification of unknown diseases through surveillance, viral genomic sequencing analysis and bioinformatics. Further, we look forward to building research capacity around the world, especially in developing nations.”
Building scientific capability to stay ahead of viral threats
Last year, Abbott established the Pandemic Defense Coalition, the first-of-its-kind, industry-led, global scientific network dedicated to the early detection of, and rapid response to, future pandemic threats. The Coalition comprises 14 entities, including networks, governments, and public health organizations on five continents that are actively identifying, analyzing, tracking and testing viral threats.
“Our world is more connected than ever so a viral threat somewhere is a viral threat everywhere,” said Gavin Cloherty, PhD, head of Infectious Disease Research and the Pandemic Defense Coalition, Abbott. “That’s why it is so important to start training the next generation of virus hunters and public health experts in every corner of the world to raise our pandemic defenses to stay ahead of both known and unknown pathogens.”
The Fellowship will support one-year post-doctoral training fellowship for applicants with a MD, PhD, or DVM degree(s) with the potential to extend to a two-year program. GVN centers of excellence and affiliates will host participants who will complete a comprehensive laboratory training to develop skills and contacts within GVN’s international community of medical virologists. They will also master the skills of identifying new pathogens and increasing research capacity.
“Fellowships such as these are integral in helping developing nations build their capacity to prevent and prepare for future pandemics,” said Christine Carrington, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, a GVN Affiliate, and a member of GVN’s Emerging Pathogens Discovery Network Watch Group. “GVN’s resources are truly a global asset, particularly as it relates to expanding the skill sets of emerging medical virologists through elite cross-training opportunities at GVN’s centers of excellence and affiliates.”
Collaborating across private-public partnerships to benefit world health
The GVN is a global authority and resource for viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the world’s ability to address viral threats and delivers scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in human and animal virology. The GVN serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.
“One of the core reasons my colleagues and I founded the GVN was to cultivate an environment to advance and train researchers, and to prepare them to take collective responsibility for current and future viral threats,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor of the GVN. “We are pleased that Abbott shares this mission to improving public health equity and safeguarding our future generations through the latest education and training opportunities.”
For more information on GVN’s Fellowship Programs, please contact [email protected].
About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, existing and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews.
Nora Samaranayake, GVN