FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
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
Veritas Inc., Rockville, MD, George Oyler, M.D., Ph.D. Focus: development of several tests used to screen tens of thousands of drugs to identify those that inhibit the activity of botulinum neurotoxin
The two institutions receiving contracts and the principal investigator at each are
NIAID also announced today the appointment of Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., to the dual positions of NIAID Associate Director for Biodefense Product Development, and Director of the Office of Biodefense Research Activities within NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Kurilla’s primary role will be to provide overall Institute coordination for advanced product development of medical countermeasures against bioterror threats. His appointment was made using Bioshield authorities that enable NIAID to streamline the hiring of qualified scientists to carry out the national medical countermeasure research and development program.
More information on Project Bioshield
NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of
infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News
releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research,
and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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Last Updated May 10, 2005