The GVN Virus Task Force and Watch groups are one of the key activities of the GVN. We have two currently active VWGs (Emerging Pathogens and Public Health and Hygiene) and four TFGs (COVID/Sars-CoV-2, Long COVID, Dengue, Mpox). We resumed the activities of two more VWGs, on Respiratory Viruses and Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses.
The Emerging Pathogens WG, led by Drs. Gene Morse and Gavin Cloherty have taken as one key goal the training of the next generation of virologists in Low-Middle income countries. Dr. Cloherty and Abbot have already partnered with the GVN, supporting the training of postdoctoral fellows. The WG is now focusing on matching mentors and trainees from LMICs to support their applications for funding from the Fogarty International Center or other sources.
The Public health and Hygiene WG, led by Dr. Syed Sattar, has been proactive in discussing ways to advocate hygiene as a key prevention strategy to abate viral transmission, and in identifying standards to measure the efficacy of hygiene approaches, including air purification, and surface cleaning. Advocacy is also necessary, not just to remind the public and national authorities of the importance of preventive measures, but also to address critical issues in the deployment of effective hygiene procedures: for example, some countries do not allow claims on the antiviral properties of soaps and detergents, which are treated as “cosmetics”.
Virus Watch Groups
In 2019, the Global Virus Network (GVN) created international Virus Watch Groups (VWG), comprised of seven highly pathogenic virus categories: respiratory, retroviruses, oncogenic, arbovirology, hemorrhagic fever viruses, gastrointestinal and zoonotic. Group member selection was based upon region, gender-balance, and resource- limited representation. The Anticipation and Preparedness Task Force Leadership . Chairs and Co-Chairs lead the seven respective virus watch groups, with participation from the group members.
The Leadership oversees Chairs and team members’ activities, who are responsible for writing detailed summary reports on the state of each virus. These reports include new research findings, as well as current and novel surveillance techniques. Each group focuses on improving upon and filling in research gaps, learning lessons/ improving upon first research response, contributing ideas for new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic developments, and methods for the prediction of potential re-emerging or unknown viruses in various hot-zones of the world. VWG research reports will be made available to private/public health institutions (i.e. CEPI, WHO, USAID, CDC, Wellcome Trust) and, during epidemics, presented in the form of health alerts or advisories.
Current active watch group include:
Emerging Pathogens Watch Group:
This program aims to identify new pathogens and to build up research capacity by creating a network with low-and middle-income countries and by supporting their clinical and laboratory staff, instrumentation, and biorepository facilities. In each center, clinical samples and data will be collected, and stored, and processed for antigenic and molecular testing and genomic surveillance. Genomic analysis for collected raw data will be processed in the centralized core facilities, and then processed data and bioinformatics will be available through an established database system. This program will be directed by Dr. Gene D. Morse (Director of University at Buffalo, SUNY GVN Center of Excellence) and Dr. Gavin Cloherty (Director of Infectious Diseases at Abbott Laboratories).