Canadian experts have launched a new digital media service that will collect data on the latest advances in viral research, including HIV, and which can be accessed by researchers across the world.
The new bilingual French and English service, "viroXchange," is funded by large pharmaceutical companies but will provide "independent" reporting on the latest medical breakthroughs for healthcare professionals, they said.
"ViroXchange broadens access to information by researchers in general, while allowing them to share their knowledge on a global scale," Dr Mark Wainberg, a member of the initiative's Scientific Committee, said in a statement.
"It's important for the scientific community to be aware of the latest trials and of their impact on research priorities and scenarios. In this context, viroXchange allows us to better collaborate."
The digital service, unveiled at an annual HIV/AIDS conference held here in Montreal, will mainly produce online videos, said Guy-Charles Pelletier, CEO of the Neuhauz company and architect of the project.
A team of reporters will cover the 10 major scientific conferences each year, interviewing specialists on camera about the latest studies and advances in HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C research, he said.
The videos will then be edited by a team led by Dr Rejean Thomas, a leading figure in the fight against AIDS in Quebec and head of the largest specialized clinic in the province, in consultation with the Scientific Committee.
The target audience is doctors and other healthcare specialists, especially those working in AIDS-ravaged Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, who cannot afford to attend several international conferences each year.
It will also be geared towards specialists who want to stay up to date on the latest findings but do not always have time to leaf through major journals, organizers say.
The company will begin with just 20 employees, 10 of them permanent, but Pelletier hopes to expand the staff to 100 within the next three years, creating what he calls the "CNN of virology."