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NIAID unveils bioterrorism research agenda

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) today released the NIAID Counter-Bioterrorism Research Agenda for CDC Category A Agents, a document describing the Institute's accelerated research plan for the most threatening agents of bioterrorism. The agenda outlines the research NIAID will undertake to help protect civilian populations from diseases such as smallpox, anthrax and plague should they be unleashed intentionally by those who wish to do harm.

The comprehensive plan includes short-, intermediate- and long-term research goals and describes specifically how bioterrorism countermeasures will be developed for each microbe. The document also contains a copy of the Strategic Plan for Counter-Bioterrorism Research of the NIAID, which provides a general overview of the Institute's broad plans for attacking the full range of potential bioterrorism pathogens.

"Research is a vital element of bioterrorism defense," says HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "The NIAID Counter-Bioterrorism Research Agenda describes the highest priorities of an accelerated program to expand research on bioterrorism agents and to quickly develop new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to protect the public."

The Research Agenda was developed by NIAID scientists and reviewed by an outside panel of experts from academia, industry and government in early February. The plan focuses on the Category A diseases as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia, viral hemorrhagic fevers and botulism. Those diseases cause high death rates or serious illness, are relatively easy to spread, could cause public panic or require special steps for public health preparedness. NIAID plans to develop research plans for CDC Category B and C agents in the near future.

As the National Institutes of Health's lead institute on immunology and infectious diseases research, NIAID has made many key contribu
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Contact: Sam Perdue
sp189u@nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
14-Mar-2002


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