Volunteer for NIAID-funded clinical studies related to Biodefense on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Recent world events have raised the public’s awareness about the possibility of a bioterrorist attack and the vulnerability of the U.S. population to such an attack. Thus, to complement research efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense that are focused on protecting military personnel, the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies fund a variety of research programs focused on protecting the civilian population, which includes people at different stages of life and with different capabilities to invoke appropriate immune responses.
In 2002, NIAID developed a strategic plan for biodefense research that outlines plans to address bioterrorist threat agents as well as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. In the same year, an expert panel was convened to specifically address the immunological aspects of research into biodefense preparedness and to identify high priority research areas in immunology.
As part of the ongoing NIAID biodefense effort, a large number of programs focus on practical aspects of developing vaccines and therapies for the pathogens of interest, and conducting research on the basic microbiology of these pathogens. In addition, NIAID funds several programs to investigate the immunological aspects of infectious agents relevant to biodefense. For comprehensive information on the NIAID biodefense research programs, please see Biodefense and Related Programs.
Through the research programs listed below, the NIAID Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation (DAIT) supports basic studies on innate immune mechanisms involved in the first line of defense against infection, as well as adaptive (acquired) immune mechanisms responsible for producing pathogen-specific antibodies and cellular responses that specifically eliminate pathogens from the body. The research supported includes studies on the mechanisms that generate and maintain immunological memory, to improve the approaches by which vaccines can be used to achieve long-term protection.
Many of these programs focus on human immunology and the discovery of specific human immune responses that are associated with successful vaccination or treatment, or that indicate impaired immunity. DAIT also provides support for the development of new methods to study immunology in humans, to help identify more definitive and rapid results that can be applied to developing new or improved vaccines and therapeutics.
Many of the Category A, B, and C pathogens or their products are studied within these programs, including anthrax, plague, pox viruses, influenza, West Nile virus, hantaviruses, and hemorrhagic fever viruses.
Please note that the resources cited here are federally funded in full or in part by NIAID.
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Last Updated March 07, 2011
Last Reviewed March 07, 2011