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USF Chosen For Virus Research Headquarters

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USF's new medical building in downtown Tampa.

The University of South Florida has been picked to host the regional headquarters for a virus research coalition, which will help develop new strategies to fight against infectious diseases.

The Global Virus Network has named USF Health as its new southeast U.S. regional headquarters.

GVN is a system of researchers from around the world who study how viruses work and how they make people sick.

Dr. Christian Bréchot is both GVN President and a professor of internal medicine at USF Health. He said that the partnership between the two organizations will help develop new ways to combat viruses.

“It will help for example, to evaluate new treatments,” said Bréchot. “It will help to evaluate new diagnostic tests, new vaccine protocols.”

USF’s research influence should also increase because of the agreement.

“It's really connecting all (the) best experts in virology worldwide,” said Bréchot. “It will really help increase (the) visibility of USF at the international level.”

Bay area hospitals will also benefit from, as well as contribute to, the research.

“This partnership will help USF and Tampa General Hospital, and possibly other hospitals, reinforce clinical research,” Bréchot added.

The partnership will start off small, with only a few officers in the program, but Bréchot said that the hope is it will expand over time — potentially making USF Health a more intriguing choice for prospective students and researchers.

“The idea is that, with this naming of USF as headquarters, we are obviously improving our chance to get (more) hands,” said Bréchot. “That, in turn, will lead to recruit (more) scientists, medical doctors, and so on.”

Bréchot said a big part of the reason why USF landed the headquarters is because of its response to COVID-19. He pointed specifically to how effective USF’s COVID-19 protocol has been.

“This activity has been part of what I (refer to) as the beginning of…USF’s commitment and engagement (in fighting) infectious disease,” Bréchot said.

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