Pierre J. Jeanniot
Pandemics: Travel and Tourism Should Join the Fight
Ajaccio, Corsica, October 5, 2009 >>
After a long and distinguished career in the airline industry, Pierre J. Jeanniot, former CEO of Air Canada and former Director General of IATA, has a new vocation: raising funds to fight pandemic diseases. As such, he has agreed to become the Founding Chairman of the Foundation on Antivirals (FAV).
“Almost every country in the world now enjoys international airline service. Any point in the world can be reached in less than a day – and this vast network can allow pandemic infections to circle the globe in a matter of hours. The travel and tourism industry has already suffered a great deal from virus-caused pandemics, and has much to gain from the development of successful, affordable antiviral therapies.”
Pierre Jeanniot was addressing an international symposium of some 100 leading scientists and researchers from around the world meeting in Ajaccio, Corsica. They are members of the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of new therapies for infectious diseases and to making them available to all “regardless of national boundaries, geopolitical and economic constraints”.
“Developing new antiviral therapies is a very expensive proposition.”
“The first stage in the development of a therapy – discovering new and promising antivirals – is largely supported by ICAV-affiliated researchers. The latter stages – when commercialization is anticipated – can be supported by pharmaceutical companies. But, the critical stages of pre-clinical and clinical trials receive little public or industry support.”
“To fill this funding gap, the Foundation on Antivirals (FAV) has entered into a partnership with the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV) to seek the support not only of the travel and tourism industry, but also of major international corporations which could be the most affected by the propagation of viruses … given their globe-spanning activities”, said Jeanniot.
“The SARS epidemic of 2003 was a wake-up call. It caused global damage estimated at $300 billion and drove the travel and tourism industry into a financial crisis.”
“Modern science may have reduced the impact of infectious diseases on local populations – in the developed world at least – but modern travel has extended their range and the speed with which they spread, particularly in developing regions. Much remains to be done.”
FAV and ICAV’s objective is to facilitate and accelerate research into new, efficient and less costly antiviral medicines for the benefit of mankind. “It’s an objective that is worthy of the support of the industries that have helped to create the global village”, concluded Jeanniot.
For further information contact:
Pierre J. Jeanniot O.C., C.Q., FRAeS
Tel. +1 (514) 861 1188
E-mail: [email protected]