SPPU is a new member of the Global Virus Network

Scientific Platform Pasteur-USP is the first Brazilian institution to join the GVN, which promotes collaboration between scientists of 36 nations, for the purpose of developing treatments, drugs, and vaccines.

The Scientific Platform Pasteur-USP (SPPU) is the first Brazilian institution to join the Global Virus Network (GVN), which is a collaborative network for virus research that is active in 36 nations, with 67 affiliated centers of excellence. The official relationship was formalized in January and will boost the SPPU's research potential by providing greater interaction among the world's leading virologists and increasing funding opportunities.

Since it was founded in 2011, the GVN has promoted collaboration via congresses, training sessions, courses, lectures, and regularly held seminars among its affiliates. Task forces are coordinated to identify and mitigate the effects of a number of viruses that are or could become pandemics. In addition to producing knowledge, these groups work collaboratively and form key partnerships that can lead more quickly to new treatments, drugs, or vaccines.

The GVN views this partnership as strategic, keeping in mind that up to this point the network was active in only three South American Countries: Peru, Argentina, and Colombia. “We are very happy with the partnership, and so are they, because Brazil plays a prominent role throughout Latin America, not only because of its size, but because of its diversity and the quality of its research,” says Luís Carlos de Souza Ferreira, Coordinator of the SPPU for USP (University of São Paulo). “This level of trust will bring many benefits, one of which will be the opening of new doors for funding. The GVN has an action arm that involves partnerships with international development agencies and groups linked to numerous governments,” he adds.

In the short term, the SPPU will join the task force fighting SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Over time, it will also join research groups studying viruses that are endemic to Brazil, such as Zika, Chikungunya, HIV, and Dengue fever. “Obviously, the present focus is on the coronavirus, but we have all of these involvements within our scope,” Ferreira stressed. “Especially our work in combatting the Zika Virus will be highly important, because one of the GVN’s priorities is to deal with emerging diseases that lead to brain impairment. This virus has been heavily studied in Brazil for some time now and it has been one of the SPPU’s priorities since the serious outbreak it caused in 2016,” explained Paola Minoprio, Coordinator of the Platform for the Pasteur Institute.

Besides involving the SPPU with other research groups, its participation in national and international research networks tends to accelerate the studies that are already underway. “We can count on the complementarity of other researchers and, thus, our projects will gain access to data from a large number of patients affected by viral diseases around the world,” says Minoprio.

This affiliation with the GVN is the SPPU's second participation in networks of excellence, since it is already part of the Pasteur Network formed by the Pasteur Institute, in France, with more than 33 institutes on five continents.