|Large Tularemia Vaccine Contracts Among New NIAID Biodefense
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of
the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has recently made
several dozen awards to further strengthen the nation’s biodefense and emerging
disease research capabilities. The new awards include grants totaling approximately
$87 million for the construction of four biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories
as well as two five-year contracts totaling approximately $60 million to support
the development of a vaccine against tularemia, a potential agent of bioterror.
“Devising medical countermeasures against biological threats, whether they arise
naturally or are the result of deliberate human action, is a top priority for
NIAID,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “These new awards support
research needed to better understand and defend against disease-causing microbes
and provide funds to construct facilities where such research can be performed
Regional Biocontainment Laboratories
The four new labs will join nine other NIAID-funded BSL-3 labs in the Institute’s
Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) program. In 2002, a panel of experts
convened to provide guidance to NIAID on its biodefense agenda cited insufficient
BSL-3 and BSL-4 space as a major barrier to research progress. As part of its
response, NIAID established the RBL program to fund the design, construction
and commissioning of state-of-the-art BSL-3 labs at sites spanning the country.
The institutions receiving the new awards and the principal investigators are
- George Mason University, Manassas, VA/ Charles Bailey, Ph.D.
- Tufts University, North Grafton, MA/ Sawkat Anwer, DMVH, Ph.D.
- University of Louisville, KY/ Nancy Martin, Ph.D.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa/ James Gaines, Ph.D.
More information about NIAID’s biocontainment facility construction program
and a map of the previously awarded sites is at http://www2.niaid.nih.gov/Biodefense/Research/RBL.htm.
Tularemia Vaccine Contracts
Two contracts totaling approximately $60 million have been awarded to the University
of New Mexico (C. Rick Lyons, M.D., principal investigator) and to DVC LLC,
Frederick, MD (Robert House, Ph.D., principal investigator) to support research
to identify and evaluate new tularemia vaccine candidates. Tularemia, a bacterial
disease, is also known as rabbit fever; symptoms include high fever, chills,
aches and swollen lymph glands. Tularemia usually can be successfully treated
with antibiotics. However, the bacterium that causes tularemia is regarded
by experts as a potential agent of bioterror because, if aerosolized, it could
cause widespread cases of more serious disease, including severe respiratory
illness and systemic infections, and even death.
Additional Biodefense Research Awards
In addition to those described above, NIAID’s Fiscal Year 2005 biodefense awards
- Challenge Grant program awards to support further development of previously
identified therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics against NIAID Category A,
B and C priority pathogens including anthrax, smallpox and viruses that cause
- Cooperative Research program awards to stimulate research requiring multidisciplinary
effort to advance promising candidate vaccines, therapeutics and other products
through the product development pathway
- Small Business Biodefense program awards
- BioShield http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2005/27million_bioshield.htm
- Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2005/rce_05.htm
Information about NIAID’s Fiscal Year 2005 awards in biodefense research can
be found at http://www2.niaid.nih.gov/biodefense/research/2005awards/.
News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available
on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIAID supports basic and
applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as
HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis,
malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports
research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune
disorders, asthma and allergies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.