Linus Wins Two Gold Hermes Creative Awards for Film About the Zika Virus


One of our greatest joys at LINUS is to bring science and humanity together by telling the significant stories of our clients and how their work positively impacts the world. Sometimes this work requires traveling to far-flung corners of the world to document these narratives unfolding in real time.

That’s why we’re so honored to announce that our film, “Learning From Zika: Preparing for the Next Outbreak,” produced in partnership with ATCC, earned two 2019 Gold Hermes Creative Awards in the “Documentary” and “Medical” categories.

The film follows the intrepid researchers, scientists, and clinical team who are working together on the front lines of the Zika virus epidemic. In particular, the film centers around a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study examining the neurological impacts in Guatemalan children and infants infected with Zika.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to play a small part in this effort,” says Flor Munoz, MD and Principal Investigator of the NIH Zika Study.

It’s been humbling to return to my country and be inspired by the strength, resilience and determination of the project team and of the affected people. All of whom have already so many challenges to confront and yet, selflessly participate in our study with the hope to contribute and help all those affected in Latin America.”

The multi-year study is a true international collaboration spanning the globe from the field work in Southwestern Guatemala to the study’s laboratory testing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

“It’s difficult to know what the future of Zika virus in the Americas will look like, but to me, this study will always represent the coming together of individuals from all different backgrounds and walks of life to address an important and frightening problem,” says Jesse Waggoner, Director of Molecular Diagnostics of the NIH Zika Study.

Infectious disease outbreaks can bring out the worst in society, But the response, if done correctly, if approached with thought and respect and caring, can give us hope, can connect us as human beings.”

ATCC played a critical role in the Zika crisis response, serving as a center for the collection, authentication, and distribution of viral strains in this NIH-funded study. ATCC’s biorepository holds the original Zika strain acquired in 1953, and continues to safeguard it for the scientific research community.

“There is so much more that has to be done to improve the health of women and children in these countries,” says Munoz. “I am thankful for the investment of the NIH in our project, and to ATCC and The Linus Group to shine a bright light on Guatemala by showing through this documentary how extraordinary this tiny, beaten, but resilient and proud country can be.”

As a part of ATCC’s “Supporting Global Health” pledge, the non-profit organization vows to partner with scientists and researchers who relentlessly dedicate their work to preventing and containing the world’s most devastating epidemics.

“We did not conquer Zika,” says Waggoner. “We will not stop the emergence of new diseases. We can only learn from them and try to do better — try to be better — next time.”