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eBriefing

What SARS-CoV-2 Can Teach Us About Emerging Viral Diseases

What SARS-CoV-2 Can Teach Us About Emerging Viral Diseases
Reported by
Sara Donnelly

Posted November 09, 2020

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

The emergence of the new coronavirus in late 2019, its rapid global spread, and a pandemic declaration in March 2020 has brought the risks of emerging viral pathogens into sharp relief. In September 2020, we passed the grim threshold of one million recorded deaths globally, with over 200,000 of those in the U.S. In response to this pandemic, the scientific community has mobilized like never before and made rapid advances in therapeutic and vaccine development. Technologies developed to combat recent epidemics such as SARS and Ebola are now being adapted to fight SARS-CoV-2, underlying the importance of developing scientific tools that can be quickly modified and deployed against new viral threats. In this eBriefing, leading scientists examine state-of-the-art methodologies for pathogen surveillance and identification, viral characterization, and therapeutic and vaccine development. While the discussion focuses on the latest research on SARS-CoV-2, the broader goal is to highlight best practices for preparedness against future viral threats.


In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:

  • The scientific mechanisms underlying the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and its similarities and differences to other known coronaviruses.
  • Current methods for identifying new viruses in animals and strategies to contain their spread to human populations.
  • The latest updates on therapeutic and vaccine development for COVID-19.
  • What we’ve learned from this pandemic, and how that can inform our approaches to combatting future outbreaks of new viral diseases.

Speakers

Ralph S. Baric, PhD
Ralph S. Baric, PhD

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jonna Mazet
Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD

University of California, Davis

Susan Weiss
Susan Weiss, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

Dennis Burton
Dennis Burton, PhD

The Scripps Research Institute

Barney Graham, MD, PhD
Barney Graham, MD, PhD

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Nancy Sullivan
Nancy Sullivan, PhD

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Galit Alter
Galit Alter, PhD

Harvard Medical School, The Ragon Institute

George Painter, PhD
George Painter, PhD

Emory Institute for Drug Development

Panelists

Alina Baum, PhD
Alina Baum, PhD

Regeneron

Andrew J Pollard
Andrew J. Pollard, FRCPCH, PhD, FMedSci

University of Oxford

Uğur Şahin, MD
Uğur Şahin, MD

BioNTech

Hanneke Schuitemaker
Hanneke Schuitemaker, PhD

Janssen

Herbert (Skip) Virgin
Herbert "Skip" Virgin, MD, PhD

Vir Biotechnology

Preparing for Emerging Viral Diseases: Lessons from SARS-CoV-2

Speakers

Keynote: Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Nancy Sullivan, PhD
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Sullivan is a tenured Senior Investigator and Chief of the Biodefense Research Section at the Vaccine Research Center, a division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH. She conducted her doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Joe Sodroski, where her work demonstrated that primary HIV isolates exhibit resistance to antibody neutralization due to occlusion of the coreceptor binding site on gp120. Following her work on HIV, Dr. Sullivan pursued postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Gary Nabel, studying the mechanisms of Ebola virus pathogenesis and immune protection.

Dr. Sullivan’s current research is on the immunologic correlates and mechanisms of protection against infection by hemorrhagic fever viruses. Ebola virus infection is a highly lethal disease for which there are currently no effective therapeutic or preventive treatments. Dr. Sullivan is a leader in the field and has personally conducted many of the most critical experiments. Her work on filovirus immunology and vaccine development is widely considered one of the very best in the field despite the difficulties of conducting research under highly specialized BSL-4 containment conditions. Dr. Sullivan’s innovative and specialized work on filovirus immunology is recognized worldwide and has consistently been the source of novel observations that have contributed to critical advancements in the field and resulted in the discovery of both vaccines and therapies.

Keynote: Preparing for the Next Pandemic


Nancy Sullivan (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Emerging Pathogens: Origins and Identifications

Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD
University of California, Davis

Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology in the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and is also affiliated faculty in the UC San Francisco Institute for Global Health Sciences. Her work focuses on global health problem solving for emerging infectious diseases and conservation challenges. She is active in international One Health education, service, and research programs, most notably in relation to disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people and the ecological drivers of disease emergence. Currently, Dr. Mazet is the Co-Director of the US Agency for International Development’s One Health Workforce – Next Generation, an $85 million educational strengthening project to empower professionals in Central/East Africa and Southeast Asia to address complex health threats, including antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic diseases. She recently served as the Global Director of PREDICT Project, a greater than $200 million viral emergence early warning project under USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Division.

Emerging Pathogens: Origins and Identifications


Jonna Mazet (University of California, Davis)

Further Readings

Mazet

Anthony SJ, Johnson CK, Greig DJ, et al

Virus Evol.2017 Jun 12;3(1):vex012

Monetcino-Latorre D, Goldstein T, Gilardi K, et al

One Health Outlook. 2020 Feb 7;2(2)

Valitutto MT, Aung O, Tun KYN, et al

PLoS One. 2020 Apr 9;15(4):e0230802

SARS-CoV2: Molecular Virology, Models, and Host Immunity

Speakers

Susan Weiss, PhD
University of Pennsylvania


Susan R. Weiss is Professor of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiss has studied coronaviruses since the 1980s and has made seminal contributions to our understanding of SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2. Since March 2020, Dr. Weiss has served as Co-Director of the University of Pennsylvania Coronavirus Research Center, which aims to accelerate research that focuses on SARS-CoV-2, become a centralized repository of SARS-CoV-2 research, and create new opportunities to fund research relating to SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Weiss graduated from Brandeis University and received her PhD from Harvard University, before carrying out post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco.

Coronaviruses: Old and New


Susan Weiss (University of Pennsylvania)

Virology of SARS CoV-2

Ralph S. Baric, PhD
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Ralph Baric, PhD, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He is a Harvey Weaver Scholar from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and an Established Investigator Awardee from the American Heart Association. In addition, he is a World Technology Award Finalist and a fellow of the American Association for Microbiology. He has spent the past three decades as a world leader in the study of coronaviruses and is responsible for UNC-Chapel Hill’s global leadership in coronavirus research. For these past three decades, Dr. Baric has warned that the emerging coronaviruses represent a significant and ongoing global health threat, particularly because they can jump, without warning, from animals into the human population, and they tend to spread rapidly. The Baric Lab uses coronaviruses as models to study the genetics of RNA virus transcription, replication, persistence, pathogenesis, genetics, and cross-species transmission. He has used alphavirus vaccine vectors to develop novel candidate vaccines.

Dr. Baric has led the world in recognizing the importance of zoonotic viruses as a potentially rich source of new emerging pathogens in humans, with detailed studies of the molecular, genetic, and evolutionary mechanisms that regulate the establishment and dissemination of such a virus within a newly adopted host. Specifically, he works to decipher the complex interactions between the virion and cell surface molecules that function in the entry and cross-species transmission of positive-strand RNA viruses. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, Dr. Baric was named to Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers list, which recognizes researchers from around the world who published the most widely-cited papers in their field. Also, in 2017, he was awarded a grant for more than $6 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to accelerate the development of a promising new drug in the fight against deadly coronaviruses, which is currently in clinical trials to reverse COVID-19 disease in humans. In this collaboration, he continued his partnership between the Gillings School and Gilead Sciences Inc. to focus on an experimental antiviral treatment that he had previously shown to prevent the development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in mice. The drug was also shown to inhibit MERS-CoV and multiple other coronaviruses (CoV), suggesting that it may inhibit all CoV. He continues to work with this drug.

Virology of SARS CoV-2


Ralph S. Baric (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Using Systems Serology to Define Correlates of Immunity to SARS-CoV2  

Galit Alter, PhD
Harvard Medical School, The Ragon Institute

Dr. Galit Alter is a Professor of Medicine at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard and the Co-Director of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Her research is focused on the development of systems biology tools to define the correlates of immunity against infectious diseases that ravage the globe. Her work points to unexpected mechanisms of protection against HIV, malaria, SARS-CoV-2, and tuberculosis, has led to the development of novel diagnostics to monitor chronic infections/diseases, and now promises to accelerate the development of novel classes of therapeutics able to deploy the activity of the innate immune system in a specific and controlled manner.

Using Systems Serology to Define Correlates of Immunity to SARS-CoV2


Galit Alter (Harvard Medical School)

Further Readings

Baric

Hou YJ, Chiba S, Halfmann P, et al

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Sep 29:2020.09.28.317685

Galit

Norman M, Gilboa T, Ogata AF, et al

Nat Biomed Eng. 2020 Sep 18:1–8

Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 and Beyond

Speakers

The Expedited Development of An Antiviral Agent for the Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection 

George Painter, PhD
Emory Institute for Drug Development

George Painter, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at Emory University School of Medicine, Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, and CEO of Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE).

Dr. Painter has over 30 years of experience in discovering and developing pharmaceutical agents in the biotechnology and large pharmaceutical company sectors. Before coming to Emory in 2012, he served as the President and CEO of Chimerix, Inc. and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Prior to joining Chimerix, he held the position of Executive Vice President, Research and Development, at Triangle Pharmaceuticals, where he was a member of the founding management team. Previously, Dr. Painter served as Director of Research Process and Worldwide Deputy Therapeutic Head for Antiviral Research at Glaxo Wellcome Inc. Before the merger of Glaxo with Wellcome in 1996, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Burroughs Wellcome Co., including Director of Chemistry and Director of Virology. In these positions, he worked on the discovery and development of antiviral agents to treat HSV, HIV, HBV, and HCV.

Dr. Painter earned his BS in Chemistry, MS in Physical Organic Chemistry, and PhD in Organic Chemistry at Emory.  He has published over 100 scientific papers and is an inventor on more than 45 patents, six of which have led to approved, commercially available drugs or combinations of drugs for the treatment of HIV and hepatitis B. He has led international drug development teams, which generated data for 22 investigational new drug applications and three new drug applications.  He recently led the submission of an Investigational New Drug application (IND) to the FDA for use of the ribonucleoside analog EIDD-2801 to treat COVID-19. Phase 1 clinical trials for the use of EIDD-2801 to treat COVID-19 started this April.

The Expedited Development of An Antiviral Agent for the Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection


George Painter (Emory Institute for Drug Development)

Neutralizing Antibodies and Other Therapeutic Approaches 

Dennis Burton, PhD
The Scripps Research Institute

Dennis Burton is the Chair and Professor in the Department of Immunology & Microbiology and holds the James & Jessie Minor Chair in Immunology. He received his BA in Chemistry from Oxford University and his PhD from Lund University, Sweden in physical biochemistry. He is the Scientific Director of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center, Director of The Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development (CHAVD) at Scripps Research, and a member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Boston, USA. He has held many research grants from the NIH and has published more than 450 papers in scientific journals. He has received numerous Awards, including the Jenner Fellowship of the Lister Institute and a Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. His research is focused on infectious disease, in particular the interplay of antibodies and highly mutable viruses, notably HIV. He is interested in the potential of broadly neutralizing antibodies to inform vaccine design.

Neutralizing Antibodies and Other Therapeutic Approaches


Dennis Burton (The Scripps Research Institute)

COVID-19: A Prototype Pathogen Demonstration Project for Pandemic Preparedness  

Barney Graham, MD, PhD,
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Graham serves as Deputy Director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center and assists the Director in establishing and focusing the scientific direction for the VRC as a premier intramural research organization. As Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, Dr. Graham also leads the development efforts for COVID-19 vaccines and universal influenza vaccines. He also supports VRC product development through strategic advice on vaccine design and pre-clinical and clinical evaluation. Dr. Graham is an immunologist, virologist, and clinical trials physician whose primary interests are viral pathogenesis, immunity, and vaccine development. His laboratory is focused on respiratory viral pathogens, pandemic preparedness, and emerging viral diseases. He applies structural biology, protein engineering, and other new technologies to create vaccines for unmet needs and emerging threats advancing the principles of precision vaccinology. He has been involved in the clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines for more than 30 years and has an ongoing interest in science education and expanding research opportunities for underrepresented minorities. After graduating from Rice University in 1975, he obtained his MD from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1979. From 1979 to 1984, he served as intern, resident, and chief resident in internal medicine, and from 1984 to 1986 was a clinical fellow in infectious diseases. He earned a PhD in microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1991 and then rose to the rank of professor of medicine with a joint appointment in the department of microbiology and immunology. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Graham directed an R01-funded laboratory focused on RSV pathogenesis and was head of the Vanderbilt AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Unit, one of the original sites for the international clinical trials network funded by NIH designated for evaluating candidate HIV vaccines. In 2000, Dr. Graham was recruited as one of the founding investigators for the VRC.

COVID-19: A Prototype Pathogen Demonstration Project for Pandemic Preparedness


Barney Graham (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Further Readings

Burton

Song G, He WT, Callaghan S, et al

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Sep 23:2020.09.22.308965

Graham

Corbett KS, Flynn B, Foulds KE, et al.

N Engl J Med. 2020 Jul 28:NEJMoa2024671

Panel Discussion

Speakers

Perspectives on Therapeutics and Vaccines for COVID-19 

Alina Baum, PhD
Regeneron

Alina Baum is a Senior Staff Scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where she is leading the COVID-19 spike antibody program currently in clinical trials. She received her PhD in molecular virology from the lab of Adolfo Garcia-Sastre at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and performed postdoctoral studies with Charlie Rice at Rockefeller University. Her academic career focused on studying interactions between RNA viruses and the innate immune system. In her current position at Regeneron, she is leading a virology research group developing novel therapies for viral infections including influenza and hepatitis B, and emerging pathogens such as Ebola and SARS-CoV-2, as well as the development of oncolytic viruses and vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.

Andrew J. Pollard, FRCPCH, PhD, FMedSci,
University of Oxford

Andrew J. Pollard, BSc MA MBBS MRCP(UK) FRCPCH PhD DIC FHEA FIDSA FMedSci, is Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at Oxford Children’s Hospital, and Vice Master of St Cross College, Oxford.

He obtained his medical degree at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, University of London in 1989 and trained in Paediatrics at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, UK, specialising in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, UK and at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada. He obtained his PhD at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, UK, in 1999, studying immunity to Neisseria meningitis in children and proceeded to work on anti-bacterial innate immune responses in children in Canada before returning to his current position at the University of Oxford, UK in 2001.

Dr. Pollard chaired the UK's NICE meningitis guidelines development group, the NICE topic expert group developing quality standards for the management of meningitis and meningococcal septicemia. His research includes the design, development, and clinical evaluation of vaccines, including those for meningococcal disease and enteric fever, and leads studies using a human challenge model of (para)typhoid. He runs surveillance for invasive bacterial diseases and studies the impact of pneumococcal vaccines in children in Nepal and leads a project on the burden and transmission of typhoid in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Malawi, and co-leads typhoid vaccine impact studies at these sites. He has supervised 37 PhD students, and his publications include over 500 manuscripts and books on various topics in pediatrics and infectious diseases.

He chairs the UK Department of Health and Social Care's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the European Medicines Agency scientific advisory group on vaccines and is a member of WHO's SAGE. He received the Bill Marshall award of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Disease (ESPID) in 2013, the ESPID Distinguished Award for Education & Communication in 2015, and the Rosén von Rosenstein medal in 2019 awarded by the Swedish Paediatric Society and the Swedish Society of Medicine. He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2016 and is an NIHR Senior Investigator. He made the first British ascent of Jaonli (6632m) in 1988 and Chamlang in 1991 (7309m) and was the Deputy leader of the successful 1994 British Medical Everest Expedition.

 

Uğur Şahin, MD
BioNTech

Professor Uğur Şahin, MD, co-founded BioNTech in 2008 and has served as Chief Executive Officer since that time. He also served as the head of the Scientific Advisory Board of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG from 2008 until the company was acquired by Astellas Pharma Inc., or Astellas, in 2016. In 2010, Professor Sahin co-founded TRON and served as a Managing Director from 2010 until 2019. He has also been a professor (W3) at the Mainz University Medical Center since 2014. Professor Sahin co-founded the Ci3, the German Cluster Initiative of Individualized Immune Intervention (Ci3), a non-profit organization. Prof. Sahin earned an M.D. in 1990 from the University of Cologne. Professor Sahin is married to Dr. Özlem Türeci.

 

Hanneke Schuitemaker, PhD
Janssen

Hanneke Schuitemaker, PhD, is the Head of Viral Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine and Disease Area Stronghold Leader for Viral Vaccines at Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. In this role, she oversees Janssen's viral vaccine programs, including investigational vaccine candidates for HIV, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Ebola, Zika, SARS-CoV-2, and HPV. She has been in this role since 2010. In addition, she is a Professor of Virology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center.

Hanneke Schuitemaker, a medical biologist by training, received her PhD in Medicine in 1992 at the University of Amsterdam. She worked for more than 20 years on HIV-1 pathogenesis, first at Sanquin (1989-2007), the blood supply foundation in the Netherlands, where she was the Chair of the department of Clinical Viro-Immunology (1998-2007); and then at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (2008-2010), where she was the Chair of the Department of Experimental Immunology and a member of the Research Council. From mid-2003 to mid-2004, she worked as a visiting scientist at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She successfully trained more than 30 Ph.D. students and co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Herbert "Skip" Virgin, MD, PhD
Vir Biotechnology

Herbert "Skip" Virgin, MD, PhD, is Executive Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Vir. Previously Dr. Virgin served as the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology & Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

While at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Virgin's lab used genetic, structural, computational, and sequencing methods to define mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and immunity in vivo, with many studies focusing on mouse models. They identified the physiologic role and molecular mechanisms of several RNA and DNA virus immune evasion molecules and studied immune effector mechanisms, including ISG15, interferon-γ, interferon-λ, cGAS, and autophagy genes. They discovered major roles for autophagy genes in the regulation of inflammation and immunity. As part of these studies, they developed and applied the concept of host complementation to define the in vivo mechanisms of viral immune evasion genes. Pathogen discovery efforts led to the discovery of the first murine norovirus, the first culture of a norovirus, and the demonstration that virus infection can trigger novel disease-like pathologies in mice carrying mutations in human disease-susceptibility genes. They also conducted next-generation sequencing-based studies that linked the human virome to enteropathy in AIDS, inflammatory bowel diseases, and risk for the development of type 1 diabetes in at-risk children.

Dr. Virgin received BA, MD, and PhD degrees from Harvard University and trained in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and in infectious diseases at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. He performed graduate work with Dr. Emil Unanue and postdoctoral studies with Dr. Bernard Fields. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science, and is currently on the Editorial Boards of Cell and Cell Host and Microbe.

Panel Discussion


Graham/Baum/Pollard/Şahin/Schuitemaker/Virgin (Regeneron/BioNTech/University of Oxford/Janssen/Vir Biotechnology)