Global Virus Network Experts Answer Questions on Mankind’s Worst Ebola Outbreak
As the epidemic continues to grow, GVN is hosting an interactive webinar briefing between Ebola experts and Media
Article ID: 622999
Released: 9-Sep-2014 10:20 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Newswise — Baltimore, MD (Sept. 9, 2014) As the Ebola epidemic grows in Africa, scientists of the Global Virus Network (GVN) are leading the world in their efforts to develop therapeutic drug therapy and effective vaccine candidates to treat and prevent the deadly disease from spreading. On Friday, September 12 between 1 pm EDT to 2 pm EDT the GVN, with support from UST Global as a technology partner, will host a WebEx conference including three GVN world-renowned Ebola experts and journalists from across the globe. All journalists can register here to receive login information.
“Information and mis-information about Ebola is abundant,” said Sharon Hrynkow, Ph.D., President of the Global Virus Network. “This webinar will provide journalists an opportunity to hear from scientists working on vaccines and therapies for Ebola and to place what is known and what is not known in context. They will have an opportunity to pose questions, and they will get answers from world experts working on the front lines to combat Ebola.”
GVN’s Ebola experts will discuss current treatment strategies, unapproved treatments that have been used in the current outbreak or that will soon be available, and vaccine development.
They will explain why this outbreak is more deadly than others and what governments could do to contain future outbreaks. Each will also discuss their personal experience and role in this Ebola outbreak. Our experts include:
Stephan Becker, Ph.D., Professor at the Institute for Virology, Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany, and Director of the University of Marburg GVN Center of Excellence. Dr. Becker’s team and colleagues have been in West Africa for months to help in the fight against Ebola. The German scientists have been visiting villages to test sick people for the virus as part of the European Mobile Laboratory Project. This is very important as infected people should not be nursed at home but taken to a quarantine facility. Infected corpses should be buried with special care and without being touched. These precautions are necessary to stop further infections and to contain the epidemic. Dr. Becker’s laboratory research is focused on understanding how the Ebola virus replicates, assembles in infected cells, and causes severe, often fatal, bleeding and hemorrhagic fever in humans. His work takes place under with the highest laboratory precautions (biosafety level 4).
Thomas W Geisbert, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, Texas, USA, and Member of the UTMB GVN Center of Excellence. UTMB is the only U.S. academic university to have a fully-operational BioSafety Level 4 laboratory. The National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently awarded Dr. Geisbert's lab funds as part of a five-year, $26 million grant to develop promising treatments for Ebola. The Geisbert lab focuses on three areas: a man-made antibody treatment; a promising Canadian drug from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals shown to protect monkeys from Ebola; and a vaccine that can be used both to prevent infection and also treat it.
Alan Schmaljohn, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and affiliate member of the Global Virus Network. In early stages of Ebola vaccine development, Dr. Schmaljohn led efforts that identified the viral components necessary and sufficient for inclusion in modern filovirus vaccines, with findings published in a series of papers beginning in 1997. In 2000, leading the Viral Pathogenesis and Immunology Branch with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Dr. Schmaljohn helped to identify one of the key antibodies used currently in combination with two other antibodies to treat patients infected with Ebola. More broadly, his career has centered on questions of how antibodies protect against viral infections, and how to induce protective responses using vaccines.
About the 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 visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews
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