The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans, and the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) in Durban announced the addition of CAPRISA as GVN’s newest Center of Excellence.
“CAPRISA is a world leader in HIV and SARS-CoV-2 research, positioned in an integral region to pandemics and virus surveillance, and led by a renowned clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognized for scientific and leadership contributions in AIDS and COVID-19,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters. “We are so pleased to finally officially add CAPRISA’s extensive expertise to the GVN.”
CAPRISA was created in 2001 and formally established in 2002 under the NIH-funded Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA) by five partner institutions; University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Columbia University in New York. CAPRISA is a designated UNAIDS Collaborating Centre for HIV Research and Policy; and is the South African Department of Science and Innovation and the National Research Foundation ‘s designated Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention. The main goal of CAPRISA is to undertake globally relevant and locally responsive research that contributes to understanding HIV and SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention and treatment. CAPRISA conducts research in four main scientific programs namely: HIV and Covid-19 pathogenesis and vaccines; HIV and TB treatment; HIV epidemiology and prevention; and SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology, prevention and vaccines.
Research activities at CAPRISA are supported by eight support cores including, administration, statistics, data management, laboratory, community, pharmacy, bioethics, and information systems.
The fiduciary and policy oversight of CAPRISA is governed by the Board of Control with senior industry officials. The CAPRISA Scientific Advisory Board is chaired by Nobel Laureate, Professor Françoise Barré–Sinoussi, Emeritus Professor at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, which is also a GVN Center of Excellence.
Under the leadership of the GVN-CAPRISA Director, the newest GVN Center of Excellence is comprised of experienced senior researchers/investigators with deep expertise in three virus areas including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), SARS-CoV-2 and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). In addition, CAPRISA hosts an epidemic intelligence unit, led by senior statisticians, who support data analytics across all three areas. The latest GVN Center is led by Salim S. Abdool Karim, MD, PhD, FRS, is a South African clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognized for scientific contributions and leadership in AIDS and Covid-19. He is the Director of CAPRISA, Durban and CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University, New York, Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, Boston, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Cornell University, New York, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. He is a member of the WHO Science Council and Vice-President of the International Science Council. He is also a member of the African Task Force for Coronavirus and a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Covid-19. He was the Chair of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19.
“CAPRISA is a leading South African academic research center that is fully committed to collaborating with the GVN in HIV, HPV and SARS-CoV-2 research and training opportunities,” said Dr. Abdool Karim. “We envision a mutually beneficial association with the GVN, including collaborations on researcher exchange programs, training of basic scientists in laboratory techniques at GVN supported laboratories and provisions of field experience in the conduct of clinical trials at CAPRISA, among other opportunities.”
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 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 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.