06/21/2013 06:49 pm ET Updated Aug 21, 2013

Emerging Viral Threats: A Global Concern

Last week in Washington the unexpected took place: We gathered a diverse group of top scientists, doctors and policy experts, absent a political agenda, to advocate for worldwide collaboration to combat current and emerging viral threats. It's not just about health, it's also about how it affects economies and national security. One only needs to think for a moment about SARS and HIV-AIDS and try not to shudder.

Governments cannot carry the burden of viruses and disease by themselves. This is a global issue and requires a global effort between scientists. Dr. Robert Gallo, co-founder and scientific director of the Global Virus Network, told the crowd, "If you had to predict [a pandemic], another strain of influenza would be just as simple. GVN is important and can do something about pandemics and bio-terrorism. More sophistication in virology is required and is necessary and would be useful."

The Washington Post reports this week the details on a "SARS-like" virus, which has been called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or MERS-CoV, found in the Middle East and how it quickly spread since being discovered in April. Who is bringing together the top virologists to determine its origin and trajectory. Don't you want the best scientific minds around the world working together for a fast cure?

The GVN has brought top scientists together at "Centers of Excellence" around the world to consult on these catastrophic viruses when they reveal themselves. Look at the things that we could've been done if this existed earlier. Remember when SARS was first discovered in China? Dr. Gallo tells us, "First they under-reacted, then they overreacted. They get embarrassed if you tell them what to do. Today if SARS broke out again you would look to the GVN and have acute virologists and having the China GVN recommend to the government. The GVN offers help."

Our chairman, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is travelling the world to sign up more virologists in more countries. Right now we are in 22 countries with 35 centers but we need your help. Please join business, political and media leaders from the Global Virus Network to face this important challenge and help us leverage the expertise that exists today. Together we can save lives by collaborating through the Global Virus Network.