DURHAM – Dr. David Montefiori at Duke University is part of a research group that has found more dominant strain of coronavirus.

But, he says: “Don’t panic again, there’s no evidence to suggest that this new form of the virus is more dangerous,” Montefiori said. “The concern is how it might impact vaccines and immunotherapeutics. We’re working on that … get answers very soon. If it turns out to be different enough that the vaccines need to be modified, that can be done.”

Montefiori, who earned his Ph.D. at Clemson University in 1982, is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development in the Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Sciences at Duke University Medical Center.

Montefiori’s bio as published at Duke:

“His major research interests are viral immunology and AIDS vaccine development, with a special emphasis on neutralizing antibodies. One of his highest priorities is to identify immunogens that generate broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies for inclusion in HIV vaccines.  Many aspects of the neutralizing antibody response are studied in his laboratory, including mechanisms of neutralization and escape, epitope diversity among genetic subtypes and geographic origins, ontogeny of broadly neutralizing antibody responses and computationally-assisted vaccine design.

“Over the years he has explored multiple types of assays for neutralizing antibodies and other potential antiviral antibodies, focusing on assay optimization, standardization, validation and high throughput. The scope of research covers HIV-infected individuals and nonhuman primate models of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection.  Dr. Montefiori also directs a large AIDS vaccine immune monitoring program, which operates in compliance with Good Clinical Laboratory Practice and has served as a national and international resource for standardized assessments of neutralizing antibody responses in preclinical and clinical trials of candidate AIDS vaccines since 1988. In 2002 he chaired the Antibody Laboratory Standardization Working Group that assisted in the design of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Strategic Plan for HIV vaccines.

“He currently directs the Core Neutralizing Antibody Laboratories for the HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Network (HVTN), the NIH Preclinical HIV-1 Vaccine Program and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology- Immunogen Design (CHAVI-ID). He also directs a large Comprehensive Antibody Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium (CAVIMC) as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD).

“He has published over 500 original research papers that have helped shape the scientific rationale for antibody-based HIV-1 vaccines.”