The foundation of the Institute of Paediatric Virology on the island of Euboea, Greece (Review)
Affiliations: Institute of Paediatric Virology, Aliveri, 34500 Island of Euboea, Greece, Department of Women and Children's Health, School of Life Course Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King's College London, London SE5 9RS, UK
- Published online on: October 30, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.9432
- Article Number: 302
Copyright: © Mammas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
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In 2007, at the Wirral University Teaching Hospital in Merseyside (UK), a group of young paediatric trainees and junior researchers interested in neonatal and paediatric viral infections created the Paediatric Virology Study Group (PVSG) (1) (Fig. 1). This was inspired by two cytomegalovirus (CMV)-positive twins, who were treated at the local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (2). The management of the twins required the collaboration of an extended scientific network in Merseyside and Manchester (UK), including several experienced consultants in neonatology, paediatrics, paediatric infectious diseases (PID) and microbiology. Since then, PVSG has asked for the support and advice of leading worldwide experts in paediatric virology, including Nobel Laureate Professor of Virology Harald zur Hausen (Heidelberg, Germany), who to date, has been supporting the PVSG with enthusiasm (Fig. 2).
A historical overview: From the creation of the Paediatric Virology Study Group (PVSG) to the official opening of the Institute of Paediatric Virology (IPV) based on the island of Euboea.
Message by Nobel Laureate Professor of Virology Harald zur Hausen on the official opening of the newly founded Institute of Paediatric Virology based on the island of Euboea (Greece).
One of the most significant hallmarks in the legacy of the PVSG was the annual ‘workshop on paediatric virology’. This workshop took place for the first time on the October 10, 2015 as an official session of the ‘20th World Congress on Advances in Oncology’ and the ‘18th International Meeting on Molecular Medicine’ (3). The PVSG has provided the key points of the presentations from all meetings published in the Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine and the International Journal of Molecular Medicine (3-8). The fundamental aim of these workshops was to bring together virologists with paediatricians and to highlight research and educational activities on viral infections occurring in neonates and children (9).
2. The paediatric virology proposal
During the first ‘workshop on paediatric virology’ in 2015, a detailed proposal of paediatric virology as a separate subspecialty in paediatrics was presented (10). Paediatric trainees were proposed to play a leading role in this new subspecialty, gaining valuable clinical and research experience on the prevention and management of viral infections in neonates and children. Future paediatric virologists have been proposed to play a multi-task role, not only in university-based research and educational settings, but also in primary, secondary and tertiary paediatric services.
This proposal stimulated a very interesting debate, in which several worldwide leading experts in the scientific fields of neonatology, paediatrics, PID and virology participated. These experts were asked by the members of the PVSG to offer their input on the debate of the potential role of paediatric virology as a new paediatric subspecialty (11-13). Although this debate yielded difficulties, challenges and limitations on our proposal, the potential value of paediatric virology subspecialists has undoubtedly been accepted (14) and the ‘2015 paediatric virology proposal’ has been characterized as ‘a unique project of paediatric innovation in medical education’ (15) and ‘an educational goal for advanced academic excellence’ (16). This proposal has been also evaluated as ‘the base of the initiation of a subspecialty programme on paediatric virology in the near future’ (17).
3. The mission of the institute
The Institute of Paediatric Virology (IPV) (Fig. 3) was founded in 2019 and is based on the island of Euboea in Greece. Since 2019, the institute's first office is located in Karavos, between the customs and port authorities of Aliveri's port and the traditional local fishing village of Karavos (Fig. 4). The foundation of this institute was dedicated to three children from the south of the island of Euboea, who survived of the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak (18-22).
Karavos at Aliveri’ seaside on the island of Euboea in Greece. Aliveri is the second biggest city on the island of Euboea and is situated between Chalkida, the island’s capital, and Cyme, birth place of Dr George N. Papanicolaou. In 1953, in Aliveri, the first electricity board of Greece was constructed, which, in 2007, was replaced with the Fifth natural gas unit. Recently, archaeological excavations in Karavos revealed one the oldest pre-historic villages in Greece of the early Helladic era, demonstrating that the coastal settlement of Karavos has been inhabited continuously for more than 5,000 years and its habitants had developed significant trading and cultural relations with Attica, the Hellenic mainland and the islands of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea reaching as far as Asia Minor, Crete, Cyprus and South Italy (photo by Mr. Christos Stamatas).
Its aim is to introduce medical students, paediatric and neonatal trainees, postgraduate students, virologists, paediatric and allied health professionals to the scientific field of paediatric virology. The main focus of the institute's activities is to provide an educational e-platform on the current clinical practice and recent research advances on the prevention, diagnosis, management and therapeutics against neonatal and paediatric viral infections. This platform serves as a liaison between virologists and paediatric health professionals aiming to facilitate scientific discussion and encourage collaborative work as an international network to achieve the promotion of paediatric health towards viral infectious diseases. An important aim of the institute's mission is to communicate new knowledge to children' parents and care givers.
The institute is committed to work transparently; therefore, its' news, editions and publications (Table I), annual reports and plans are publicly recorded and accessible free of charge to everyone via the institute's official webpage.
Editions and publications (National Center for Biotechnology Information - Accessed on Saturday July 11th, 2020) on paediatric virology by the Paediatric Virology Study Group (PVSG) and the newly founded Institute of Paediatric Virology (IPV).
4. The subspecialty module
The institute supports that paediatric virology, as a new paediatric subspecialty, can promote neonatal and paediatric health. In the future, paediatric virologists are expected to have a strategic role, both clinically and academically regarding the prevention and treatment of viral infections in infancy and childhood. In this context, the institute is involved in the planning, evaluation and implementation into the clinical practice of a new module of paediatric virology subspecialisation for paediatric trainees and junior health professionals in Greece (Fig. 5). This academic programme will be conducted in collaboration with worldwide state-of-the-art training centers, both clinical and laboratory-based, on neonatal and paediatric viral infections and will be supported by the institute.
Message by Professor George P. Chrousos (First Department of Paediatrics, University of Athens) on the official opening of the newly founded Institute of Paediatric Virology based on the island of Euboea (Greece).
5. The institute's groups and committees
The structure of the IPV consists of the Paediatric Virology Study Group (PVSG), the Paediatric Virology Council (PVC), the Advisory Academic Board (AAB) and the Scientific Committees (SC), which are responsible for its scientific role and administration.
Paediatric Virology Study Group (PVSG)
The PVSG (2) continues to exist having a fundamental role in the structure of the institute. The PVSG is open to scientists interested in the field of paediatric virology, either as students, basic scientists, researchers and virologists, specialty trainees (STs), consultant paediatricians and neonatologists, PID physicians or allied health professionals.
Paediatric Virology Council (PVC)
The PVC is charged with defining the institute's overall scientific directions and priorities. It is elected, supported and advised by the PVSG. The president of the PVC is also elected by the PVSG and is the president (scientific director) of the institute.
Advisory Academic Board (AAB)
The AAB of the institute consists of worldwide experts on paediatric virology with strong international reputation and seminal contributions in the field. The chairman of the AAB is proposed by the PVSG and approved by the PVC.
Scientific Committees (SC)
The SC of the institute are study working groups, which focus on specific topics of interest in the field of paediatric virology. The chairman of each SC is proposed by the PVSG and is approved by the PVC.
6. Lectures - workshops - awards on paediatric virology
The institute maintains a well-regarded and popular lecture series in Greece as well as abroad providing hot topics on paediatric virology by worldwide experts on the field. In addition, its workshops offer the opportunity to post-graduate students and junior researchers in clinical virology and molecular medicine to present their work to the paediatric community.
Each year, the institute honours experts in paediatric virology, paediatrics, neonatology, PID, clinical virology and medical education with a range of specific awards. Special awards, such as the ‘George N. Papanicolaou Humanitarian Award’, are given to scientists with outstanding achievements in medicine, science and humanity. Awarded individuals are selected by the PVSG based on their achievements and continued dedication to the field of neonatal and peadiatric viral infections and in medicine.
The institute is under the auspices of the World Academy of Sciences (WAS), which is devoted to academic excellence in sciences. WAS has no political affiliations and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability in any of its activities or operations. The institute is supported by the Department of Clinical Virology at the University of Crete School of Medicine (Heraklion, Greece) and the First Department of Paediatrics at the University of Athens School of Medicine (Athens, Greece).
There are no obligations or fees for the members of the institute as well as for the scientific community and parents, whose access to the institute's e-platform is free of charge. The institute is also independent from any national government, pharmaceutical company, medical society or association or other scientific, political or financial institution. The AAB acts as the institutes' ethics body ensuring the highest standards and conforming to institute's independence, excellence and commitment to transparency.
This article is published in the context of the foundation of the Institute of Paediatric Virology (IPV; https://paediatricvirology.org) based on the island of Euboea (Greece), under the auspices of the World Academy of Sciences (WAS) and the support of the Department of Clinical Virology of the University of Crete School of Medicine and the First Department of Paediatrics of the University of Athens School of Medicine. We would like to thank all the members of the IPV for their valuable comments and corrections.
No funding was received.
Availability of data and materials
INM, AG, MT and DAS contributed equally to the conception and design of this manuscript, wrote the original draft, edited and critically revised the manuscript, read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Patient consent for publication
INM, MT and DAS are Co-founders of the Institute of Paediatric Virology (IPV). AG is Chair of the Advisory Academic Board (AAB) of the IPV. DAS is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal, but had no personal involvement in the reviewing process, or any influence in terms of adjudicating on the final decision, for this article.
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