The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded 10 grants and 2 contracts totaling approximately $27 million to fund development of new therapeutics and vaccines against some of the most deadly agents of bioterrorism including anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola virus, pneumonic plague, smallpox and tularemia.
These awards are the first made by NIAID using authorities provided by Project Bioshield, which was signed into law on July 21, 2004. Project Bioshield gives federal agencies new tools to accelerate research on medical countermeasures to safeguard Americans against chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. These first grants and contracts, which range in duration from 12 to 18 months, respond to a key objective of the NIAID biodefense research agenda that emphasizes the development of new and improved medical products against "Category A" agents--those biological agents considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pose the greatest threat to national security.
"Project Bioshield enables us to expedite research and development of critical medical countermeasures based on promising recent scientific discoveries," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID. "These product development awards, focused on the most serious potential agents of bioterror, will help to rapidly translate laboratory findings into new therapies."
The 10 institutions receiving grants and the principal investigator at each are
- The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, Kim Janda, Ph.D. Focus: identification of drugs that reverse paralysis caused by botulinum toxin
- Apath LLC, St. Louis, MO, Paul Olivo, M.D., Ph.D. Focus: development of new antiviral drugs for Ebola infection
- Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, Karl Hostetler, M.D. Focus: development of a new antiviral drug against smallpox
- Arizona Sta
Contact: NIAID News Office
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