Ilaria Capua: winner of the 2011 Penn Vet World Leadership in Animal Health Award
14 September 2011 - Ilaria Capua, DVM, PhD, has been named the winner of the 2011 Penn Vet World Leadership in Animal Health Award.
Dr. Capua’s expertise as virologist, epidemiologist, and communicator uniquely positions her as a worldwide leader in the field of avian influenza. She has used that position to foster a closer working relationship between the animal and human health professions.
Since 1995, Dr. Capua has been involved with the European Commission through working groups related to viral diseases of animals, and, since 2003, on issues related to influenza pandemic preparedness.
In 2005 she was nominated as Chairman of OFFLU, the OIE/FAO network on animal influenza that offers veterinary expertise and crisis management support to developing countries.
In 2006 she refused to deposit the genetic sequence of the first African strain of H5N1 into a private database to which only 15 laboratories had access, preferring to deposit it into publically-available GenBank, the NIH genetic sequence database. This ignited an international debate on data sharing, which resulted in the launch of the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GASAID), endorsed by 70 medical and veterinary virologists and six Nobel laureates.
Dr. Capua’s vision to share avian influenza virus sequences to allow a better understanding of animal and human influenza infections using a transdisciplinary approach has become a core part of the global influenza preparedness strategy.
Dr. Capua has had extensive experience in the direct management of several avian influenza and Newcastle disease epidemics and, in 2000, developed the DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) vaccination strategy.
This innovate strategy enabled the continuation of trade while combating avian influenza by vaccination. As a result, avian influenza was eradicated from Italy at that time.
Dr. Capua’s contributions to global health are evident in a review of her most recent professional assignments: Senior Policy Advisor to the Director NCZVED, CDC; Member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group to World Health Organization Global Influenza Program; Member of the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health; among others.
Dr. Capua has authored more than 300 publications since 1990. Most of her research and writings have focused on viral disease of animals and those of zoonotic importance. She has extensive experience in managing projects funded by international organizations and agencies such as the European Commission, FAO and the OIE.
Dr. Capua is Director of the OIE/FAO and National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease at the OIE Collaborating Centre for Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface and of the Research and Development Unit at the Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, in Legnaro, Italy. The Institute hosts the National, FAO and OIE Reference Laboratory for avian influenza and Newcastle disease and the OIE Collaborating Center for Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface.
Ilaria Capua has been mentioned in the JAVMA news - read here the complete article.