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Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

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Research Infrastructure

NIAID has a comprehensive research infrastructure with extensive resources that support all levels of biodefense and emerging infectious diseases research and pursuit of multiple broad-spectrum concepts. This infrastructure includes:

Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Eleven multidisciplinary research teams, based at universities nationwide, provide resources and communication systems that can be rapidly mobilized and coordinated with regional and local systems in response to an urgent public health event. These centers alone have been responsible for a vast array of research advances captured in more than 2,000 scientific publications to date.

Biocontainment Research Laboratories

  • National Biocontainment Laboratories (NBLs) and Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBLs)—Two NIAID-funded biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) NBLs and 12 (BSL-3) RBLs are available or are under construction for research requiring high levels of containment. These laboratories are prepared to assist national, state and local public health efforts in the event of a bioterrorism or infectious disease emergency.
  • NIAID has also constructed or is in the process of constructing two BSL-4 and one BSL-3 biocontainment research facilities located in Maryland and Montana. These facilities are staffed by world-class NIAID scientists conducting research on biodefense and emerging re-emerging infectious diseases.

Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units

These clinical sites, located at eight universities nationwide, allow for extensive clinical trials capacity and expertise. They played a key role in testing the vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance

These five centers, located at universities in the United States, conduct prospective international or domestic animal influenza surveillance to rapidly detect and characterize influenza viruses with pandemic potential. The centers also conduct research to enhance understanding of the molecular, ecological, or environmental factors that influence the pathogenesis, transmission, and evolution of influenza viruses; and that characterize the protective immune response.
For more information on NIAID resources and infrastructure, please see:


Last Updated December 15, 2011

Last Reviewed October 18, 2011