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Moscow Meeting of Top Virus Researchers Catalyzes Global Collaborations

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BALTIMORE--Members of the Global Virus Network (GVN), which includes foremost experts in every class of human virus, and represents more than 20 countries, met in Moscow this month to share information on devastating viral threats. Top scientists shared intelligence on an array of diseases threatening global health, including China’s H7N9 influenza epidemic, the alarming rise in measles cases in Europe and the United States, the unexpected re-emergence of polio, and insidious viruses causing cancer lymphomas, to name a few. Robert C. Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and Scientific Director, said, “The scientific presentations at the meeting were terrific and varied. The meeting helped forge collaborations around the world that might not otherwise exist. For example, during the meeting we launched an important training program between researchers and clinicians at our Institute in Baltimore and with those in Moscow and surrounding regions in Russia.” 

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“Research presented in Moscow was very stimulating, and Moscow served as a catalyst for scientific collaborations that would not otherwise have been initiated”

Newly elected Chairman of the GVN Board of Directors G. Steven Burrill, Chief Executive Officer of Burrill & Company, said, “What once was a regional epidemic today grows exponentially into a global threat due to international travel, trade and other factors. A strong, interconnected network of medical virologists - a GVN - is mankind’s best defense against new and existing viral threats.” Burrill continued, “In Moscow, we strengthened our network through scientist-to-scientist exchanges on drug and vaccine development on a range of critical viral diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, measles, influenza, enterovirus, polio hemorrhagic fever and the 20% of cancers caused by viruses. Face-to-face meetings of scientists are essential in pushing knowledge forward. Our gathering of world leaders in medical virology is a vital element to success against viral foes.”

Co-founded in 2011 by Dr. Gallo, most widely known for his pioneering discoveries of the first human retroviruses, co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and development of the HIV blood test, and his colleagues William Hall, MD, PhD, Chair of Medical Microbiology and Director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at University College Dublin's (UCD) School of Medicine and Medical Science in Dublin, Ireland, and Reinhard Kurth, MD, former Director of the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute and Chairman of the Foundation Council at Ernst Schering Foundation in Berlin, Germany, GVN fulfills the need for substantive increases in global collaboration to overcome gaps in research during the earliest phases of viral epidemics and medical training programs enhancing the numbers of rising medical virologists trained to meet these challenges.

“Research presented in Moscow was very stimulating, and Moscow served as a catalyst for scientific collaborations that would not otherwise have been initiated,” said Gallo, also Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We are all very grateful to our GVN Russian Center of Excellence Head and host of the meeting, Alexey Mazus, MD, Chief Expert on HIV/AIDS for the Russian Federation Ministry of Health and Head of the Moscow Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment. We look forward to launching our new collaboration.”

GVN President Sharon Hrynkow, PhD welcomed the announcement by Dr. Mazus explaining that the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will serve as the first training site for young Russian scientists. Hrynkow continued, “In addition to training in clinical virology, we hope to expand our relationship with the Russian GVN to include training for post-doctoral research fellows and other scholarships in medical virology, building on the strong foundation in virology already present in Russia.”

In addition to the Russian GVN and IHV GVN Center of Excellence collaboration announcement, IHV Associate Director and Director of the Clinical Care and Research Division, Robert Redfield, MD and his John Hopkins University colleague John Bartlett, MD and Dr. Mazus released a Russian clinical training book, “Medical Management of HIV Infection,” in partnership with the GVN.

GVN will hold its next meeting in Xi’an, China in May 2014.

About Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from more than 20 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please contact Nora Grannell at ngrannell@gvn.org and visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews