The events leading to the formation of the Subcommittee on Information Exchange, beginning with the informal meeting of arbovirologists held at teh International Congress of Tropical Medicine adn Malaria in Lisbon in 1958 and culminating at the meeting of teh so-called "Gould House Group" sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation a year later, have been described by Taylor (1,6).
During the 1950's, a great increase in the number of isolations of previously unrecognized viruses from arthropods and vertebrates occurred in many parts of the world. In widely separated laboratories investigaors had begun to search for possible arboviruses in all likely sources in nature. These studies were aided by world-wide staffing of laboratories with investigators primarily interested in arthropod-borne viruses. The extension of studies into previously unexplored regions, and the development of new laboratory and field techniques for the isolation and serological identification of viruses, contributed greatly to the outpouring of new information. The need increasingly was recognized for reference laboratories which could antigenically characterize viruses from widely scattered areas of the world; for standardized serological reagents to aid in such studies, and for means of centralized collection and rapid dissemination of the resulting information. At several meetings of World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific Groups in Lisbon in 158, proposals were made for needed research on arboviruses.
Among American workers who had attended these conferences, and their colleagues with whom the WHO proposals had been discussed, the feeling arose that a way should be found to implement at least some of the proposals on a trial basis until truly internationalized activities could be undertaken. At the first meeting of the Gould House Group in October 1959, the Rockefeller Foundation Virus Laboratory in New York was designated as an Arbovirus Reference Laboratory and Committees on Serological Reagents and on ArbovirusInformation Exchange were appointed. The missions assigned to the latter Committee included assembly of a Registry or Catalogue of Arthropod-borne Viruses, and the inauguration of a newsletter for the exchange of current research information on these viruses.
Within 6 months, the first issue of the Newsletter was ready to distribute to 60 individuals on the initial mailing list. Its 39 pages bore brief reports from 18 laboratories and research groups. In the same period of time, forms had been developed for the registrtion of viruses, and Catalogue cards had been prepared for 43 viruses. In April 1960, the Gould House Group held a second meeting in Chicago to review the progress that had been made and agreed that these projects showed sufficient promise to be continued.
Current information on the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses may be found at The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene website .