Robert Gallo, MD, director of
the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology
(IHV), has announced that former lieutenant governor of Maryland
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, JD, will chair a coalition of the world's
leading medical virology research centers, co-founded by Gallo to help
limit illness and death resulting from viral disease.
The coalition, the Global Virus Network (GVN), is housed at the
institute, which is part of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine.
"It was fitting for Kathleen to become chair of GVN's Board of
Directors as she has long been a proponent of scientific research and
public health," says Gallo. "She recently stepped down as chair of
IHV's Board and remains actively involved in the institute's leadership.
"Her leadership will contribute greatly to GVN as she will bring
together partners including foreign governments, the private sector,
and citizens to promote and protect human health through GVN and its
many partners," says Gallo.
The rigorous and worldwide research network, Townsend says, "is the
very safety net that we need to protect the health of the world's
citizens from new viral threats."
"To put this safety net in place requires support from governments, the
private sector, and citizens," Townsend says. "I will bring all of
these partners together to protect human health through GVN and its
The GVN was established by Gallo, Reinhard Kurth, PhD, of the
University of Munster in Germany, and William Hall, MD, PhD, of
University College Dublin, along with more than 30 other leading
medical virologists representing nearly two dozen countries including
Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy,
Japan, Russia (in collaboration with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia,
Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine), South Africa,
Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This list is
growing with several additional GVN centers in formation.
The network's mandate is to serve as a catalyst between laboratory
research and clinical application, as well as to coordinate, support,
and promote research that bridges the gap between virus surveillance
and virus response.
In helping to launch GVN in March 2011, Gallo said, "The need for the
Global Virus Network has never been greater. With the volume and pace
of international travel, isolated viral outbreaks become widespread
epidemics at much faster rates than they have in the past. Overcrowded
conditions in many regions lead to increasingly common jumps of novel
viruses from animals to humans. Entirely new kinds of viruses are
continually discovered in humans and animals. We are not sufficiently
prepared for the next threat."
Gallo, who is also chair of GVN's Scientific Leadership Board,
announced the addition of nine other new members to the GVN Board of
Directors: Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment
Industry Foundation; Romain Murenzi, PhD, MS, executive director of the
Academy of Sciences for the Developing World in Trieste, Italy, and
former minister of science and technology, Rwanda; G. Steven Burrill,
founder and CEO of the global financial services firm Burrill &
Co.; Salim Abdool Karim, PhD, MS, MM, president of the South
African Medical Research Council and director of the Center for the
AIDS Program of Research in South Africa at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal; Andrew Cheng, MD, PhD, a senior vice president at Gilead
Sciences, Inc.; Wang Longde, MS, president of the Chinese Preventive
Medicine Association; N. Scott Fine, a principal at Scarsdale Equities;
Nicolas De Santis, president and secretary general of the London-based
think tank Gold Mercury International; and Raj Shah, MS, chair and CEO
of the health informatics company CTIS.
The 10 new Board of Directors appointees join founding board members
Tim Moynahan, JD (previously the founding chair), Tony Cernera, PhD,
Mathew Evins, and Terry Lierman, MPA, along with Gallo, Kurth, and Hall.