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Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Thursday, October 01 2020 - 04:30
GVN's Top Virus Experts Meet Together To Identify Most Promising Advances To Battle COVID-19 & Strategies To Prepare For Future Pandemics
BALTIMORE, Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

- Rapid Diagnostic Testing, Repurposing Drug Therapies and Vaccines Targeting 
Innate Immunity, Are Integral Factors in Mitigating COVID-19 

The Global Virus Network (GVN) ( 
), a coalition of the world's leading medical and basic virology research 
centers working to prevent illness and death from viral disease, convened a 
press conference with attendees from across the globe to discuss key takeaways 
from the GVN virtual 2020 Special Annual Meeting held September 23-24, 2020. 

Logo -  

A video of the full press conference, can be found here ( 

"We do not know what the future holds for COVID-19 – there may be seasonal 
variations or chronic infections or maybe a slowdown," said Dr. Christian 
Bréchot, GVN President. "However, we know that we have to prepare and that this 
for now and not after the end of this pandemics; in the spirit of preparation, 
it is very timely that we used the Special Annual Meeting to band together 
international experts to identify and analyze what went wrong, what has been 
properly handled and what recommendations we can confidently make." 

Key findings during the meeting regarding SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research 

    -- "Super-spreaders" and "super-spreading" events are major drivers
       of the pandemic, indicating that only a handful of those infected
       seem be exponentially contagious. Further, short-range
       aerosol-driven transmission contributes to the dissemination
       of the virus, particularly in the context of the super
       spreading events. 
    -- Key pandemic response strategies – the need to take better
       advantage of the major technology progress in diagnostics,
       a key driver for the control of infectious diseases; salivary
       sampling will very much increase our testing capacity, including
       in school settings; novel rapid and cheap molecular rapid
       diagnostic tests combined with digital-based transmission
       of the results, tracing and isolation should be widely
       emphasized, an understanding of communicability and transmission
       and, most importantly, the creation of a unified and
       multidisciplinary response with mechanisms for information
       sharing among international virologists and independent authorities. 
    -- An evaluation of vaccine development – timing, an analysis
       of the candidates, side-effects and managing the world's
       expectation for a satisfactory and timely vaccine. Until a
       classical, effective vaccine is available, vaccines that
       stimulate the body's innate immune system, such as the oral
       polio vaccine and BCG, are integral in protecting against infection. 
    -- A very strong statement against SARS-CoV-2 being the result
       of human manipulation. 
    -- An update on the available and future therapies, emphasizing the
       need to combine novel antiviral and immunomodulatory molecules as
       well as the need to contemplate in the future antivirals with
       broad spectrum against several viruses.

Dr. Brechot, who also is a professor at the University of South Florida in 
Tampa, continued, "This is not just a crisis – it is a new era. We have major 
challenges ahead, we need a new organization and we need it now.  Global 
collaborations will build a strong foundation. This is where the GVN is very 
important, and complementary to national and international agencies. The GVN is 
well positioned to establish with all partners a Viral Pandemic Readiness 
Alliance to facilitate collaborations with universities, industry, governments 
and communities to merge efforts and find solutions together." 

"Simple, safe, oral, inexpensive, live vaccines such as the oral polio vaccine 
(OPV) will have a broad benefit against COVID-19. This can also likely be used 
in future pandemics, particularly of respiratory viruses, by inducing innate 
immunity, which is immediate and not as limiting as a specific vaccine," said 
Dr. Robert Gallo, co-founder of GVN; The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished 
Professor in Medicine, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human 
Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Gallo, who is most renowned for discovering human retroviruses, 
co-discovering HIV as the cause of AIDS and developing the HIV blood test 
continued, "Nothing is needed more than a rapid diagnostic test. Molecular 
tests that can be done cheaply and at home, within two hours or less time – 
nothing could be more valuable "We need to be able to trace; we need to be able 
to follow people; we need to be able to educate. This is absolutely basic, and 
without it we can do nothing. There is singularly nothing else more important 
in my mind than having rapid and reliable diagnostics."   

Dr. Brechot was joined at the press event by presenters from the annual meeting 

    -- Dr. Linfa Wang, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore 
    -- Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, USA 
    -- Dr. Ab Osterhaus, TiHo Hannover, Germany 
    -- Dr. Johan Neyts, Rega Institute, Belgium 
    -- Dr. Raymond Schinazi, Emory University, USA

Next, David Scheer, an advisor and entrepreneur in life sciences with a 
lifelong career in global public health non-profits, moderated a discussion 
titled, "From HIV to SARS-CoV-2 and Beyond." Panelists were Dr. Gallo ( 
), Dr. Brechot and Dr. Eric Rubin, New England Journal of Medicine Editor.  The 
frank COVID-19 discussion included historical perspectives, the emergence of 
variant strains of SARS-CoV-2, vaccine development and innate immunity, the use 
of existing and new drug therapies, pandemic preparedness as it relates to 
industry, government and academia, and that SARS-CoV-2 is naturally occurring 
and not manmade.  

The meeting program can be found here ( 

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 10 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 Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews ( 

SOURCE  Global Virus Network

CONTACT: Sard Verbinnen & Co, Kelly Kimberly/Kelly Langmesser,, +1.212.687.8080; GVN, Nora Samaranayake, +1 410-706-1966,