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Leading research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases
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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases

Jeffrey I. Cohen, M.D., Chief

Established in 1942, the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID) has a long history of vaccine development and identification of new agents of viral diseases. LID is noted for undertaking high-risk, high-re​ward programs that require extraordinary time and resource commitments, such as programs to develop vaccines for viral hepatitis, severe childhood respiratory diseases, and viral gastroenteritis.

Clinical studies complement LID’s major areas of research, including testing candidate vaccines in clinical trials, a human challenge study with influenza to study pathogenesis and immune correlates for protection against the virus, and studies of severe virus infections in persons without known immune deficiency.

Examples of LID accomplishments

  • Both a licensed hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix) and monoclonal antibody to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (Synagis) were developed.
  • A live, attenuated influenza vaccine, FluMist, was licensed by MedImmune, Inc., which was developed by LID with participation of extramural NIAID.
  • Vaccines against potential pandemic influenza strains have been developed in collaboration with Medimmune and have been tested in clinical trials.
  • A bovine-based rotavirus vaccine is licensed in the United States and internationally, and a rhesus-based rotavirus vaccine is licensed in the United States.
  • A recombinant live, attenuated RSV vaccine was shown to be safe and immunogenic in 1- to 2-month-old infants and is continuing in clinical trials.
  • A hepatitis E vaccine, licensed to GlaxoSmithKline, proved highly effective in preventing hepatitis E in a field trial in Nepal.
  • Vaccine candidates for West Nile virus have been generated, and one was safe and immunogenic in a clinical trial.
  • A live, attenuated human metapneumovirus vaccine is being tested in a clinical trial.
  • A tetravalent live, attenuated dengue virus vaccine is in clinical trials and is being licensed throughout the world.
  • A live, attenuated PIV3 vaccine has passed Phase II safety trials in infants, and PIV1 and PIV2 vaccine candidates have been generated.
  • A human volunteer influenza challenge model has been developed for testing vaccines, immunotherapeutics, and antivirals in clinical trials.

Sections and Units


Major Areas of Research

  • Vaccines for respiratory viruses, gastrointestinal viruses, hepatitis C, flaviviruses, and herpesviruses
  • Pathogenesis of and host immune response to virus infections
  • Microarray analysis of liver biopsies and central nervous system tissue to study host responses to viral hepatitis and neurotropic flaviviruses, respectively
  • New antiviral agents
  • Monoclonal antibodies to emerging and select agents
  • Structure and function of viral glycoproteins
  • Pandemic, seasonal, and animal influenza
  • Evolution of norovirus, rotavirus, and influenza
  • Immunodeficiencies associated with severe herpesvirus infections
  • Paramyxovirus vectors
  • Virus discovery

Last Updated February 28, 2014

Last Reviewed May 09, 2013