The strengths of this consortium lie in combining expertise in basic virology, cellular biology and immunology. Moreover, this consortium brings together for the first time a range of internationally recognized Belgian human and veterinary virologists. These partners will share complementary expertise, and unique infection models (in vitro and in vivo). Such collaboration between human and veterinary medical sciences will undoubtedly create a unique synergism and follows the lead of the “one health one medicine” initiative (http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/). Both the affiliation of the partners and the viruses that will be studied demonstrate an adequate equilibrium between human and veterinary medicine sciences in this consortium.
The consortium will initiate and facilitate interactions (during the IAP program and beyond) that will create an environment to keep the Belgian virology at the forefront of international research. These include (i) establishing a virtual lab environment in which fellows of the different partners will be able to work and interact; (ii) organizing collaborative workshops between the partners to promote the education and advancement of young scientists; and (iii) promoting lasting links between Belgian virologists through the launching of a “Belgian Society of Virology” that will be networked to existing international virology organisations.