Internationally Renowned Public Health Expert Sten Vermund Appointed President of the Global Virus Network (GVN)

BALTIMORE, Nov. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Global Virus Network (GVN) today announced the appointment of Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, as President of the GVN. Dr. Vermund is the Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, former Dean of the Yale School of Public Health (2017-2022) and serves as a Professor in Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Vermund transitions into his new role as Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, ends his second term as GVN President, becoming Vice Chairman of the GVN Board of Directors.

Said Mathew L. Evins, GVN Board of Directors Executive Chairman and Treasurer, “The GVN is delighted to have such an accomplished and distinguished professional as Sten to lead our indispensable organization into the future while building upon the exceptional foundation Christian Brechot established over the last six years. I look forward to working closely with Sten to enhance the GVN’s abilities to combat viral diseases through international collaborative research, surveillance, professional training, public health solutions and policy guidance, as well as partnering and collaborating with agencies, businesses and other organizations dedicated to advancing global health.”

Dr. Vermund was nominated by Robert Gallo, MD to succeed Dr. Brechot as GVN President and was unanimously supported by GVN leadership to serve the appointment. Dr. Gallo, who conceived and co-founded the GVN, is distinguished and revered for his pioneering discovery of human retroviruses known as Human T cell Leukemia Virus-1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2), co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS and development of the HIV blood test. The GVN concept began back in the 1980’s when Dr. Gallo realized that virtually no working virologist had a global directive for researching the cause of AIDS during the earliest years of the epidemic. Conversely, important groups such as the World Health Organization which did have a global mandate for combatting the new disease had virtually no resident expertise in the kind of virus that was subsequently shown to be the cause of AIDS, namely, a retrovirus. Examining the history of other great epidemics of the 20th century, Influenza, Polio, and the more recent outbreak of SARS-Cov-2 as well as several other viruses, reveals similar disconnects between available expertise and the urgent public need to identify causation and prevention modes.

Dr. Vermund’s research has mainly focused on health care access, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, and prevention of HIV transmission among general and key populations, including mother-to-child. Dr. Vermund became increasingly engaged in health policy, particularly related to sustainability of HIV/AIDS programs and their expansion to non-communicable diseases, the coronavirus pandemic response and prevention, and public health workforce development.

“I have been engaged with the GVN these past several months and am extremely impressed with the work it has accomplished to date under Christian’s guidance. The commitment and passion of GVN’s members throughout the world are the core for the essential and unique GVN role,” said Dr. Vermund. “The COVID-19 pandemic conclusively demonstrated the compelling need for an independent, global organization committed to the preparedness, defense and first collaborative research response to emerging, existing, and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health. The GVN must ensure that the world will never again be unprepared, untrained, ill-equipped, and uninformed to deal with viral threats.”

“It has been an honor leading and serving the GVN these past six years,” said Dr. Bréchot. “We were able to grow the GVN and make an impact in the field. Sten inherits an organization well-positioned to be a go-to resource for organizations and governments seeking science-driven solutions and data to make informed public health decisions and advance research initiatives. I am extremely pleased to continue as part of GVN’s leadership and serve as Vice Chairman of GVN’s Board of Directors.”

Continued Mr. Evins, “During Christian’s tenure as President, he positioned the GVN on the world stage; significantly enhanced our credibility and visibility; expanded the Network; developed the GVN Academy, which currently consists of five programs with more than 120 alumni; established our Task Forces, Watch Groups and Webinars; created the GVN Rising Stars and Postdoctoral Fellowship programs; forged important partnerships with USF Health at the University of South Florida Tampa and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco among others. I have had the privilege and pleasure of working side-by-side with Christian over the last six years and I very much look forward to continuing our partnership as he becomes Vice Chairman of the GVN board and President Emeritus.”

Said Dr. Vermund at the GVN’s recently concluded Annual Scientific Meeting in Monaco, “I look forward to expanding our programing, enhancing our capabilities, increasing our financial and operational resources, developing new private/public partnerships and forging stronger collaborative relationships with the European Union and the World Health Organization, as well as such other agencies as the African, Chinese and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to firmly establish the GVN as go-to resource for governments at a local, national, and international level. I also look forward to adding and diversifying GVN’s leadership, providing even more opportunities to emerging economies, while maintaining independence to promote data-driven science.”

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The 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, the GVN is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 71 Centers of Excellence and 9 Affiliates in 40 countries, 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 X at @GlobalVirusNews.

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake
+1 443 823 0613

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