"The COVID pandemic demonstrates how even today’s high-tech world is not immune to stumbling unexpectedly into a medical, social, and economic crisis of the utmost severity. It also illustrates that we live in a world where globalization and an increasingly complex interface between human civilization and the environment, including animal wildlife, is associated with a whole variety of new medical challenges. As head of the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna, my responsibility is to maintain an overview of the available, as well as fostering the development of new preventive and curative treatments safeguarding the health of citizens, travelers, and visitors. I have been a supporter of CeMM since its inception as a hotbed for frontier research in fundamental mechanisms of pathology. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, CeMM has proven an invaluable partner in frontline research for the Medical University of Vienna."