Large tularemia vaccine contracts among new NIAID biodefense awards

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 safely."

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 as follows:

  • Charles Bailey, Ph.D., George Mason University, Manassas, VA
  • Sawkat Anwer, D.M.V.H., Ph.D., Tufts University, North Grafton, MA
  • Nancy Martin, Ph.D., University of Louisville, KY
  • James Gaines, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa

More information about NIAID's biocontainment facility construction program and a map of the previously awarded sites is at <

Contact: Anne A. Oplinger
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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