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NIAID Research on Tularemia

NIAID supports research on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infections caused by microbes, including those that have the potential for use as biological weapons. The research program to address biodefense includes both short- and long-term studies targeted at designing, developing, evaluating, and approving specific tools (diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines) needed to defend against possible bioterrorist-caused disease outbreaks.

NIAID research goals to diagnose, prevent, and treat tularemia include

  • Supporting basic research to identify mechanisms of Francisella tularensis virulence and pathogenesis, and to define host responses to pathogen
  • Developing quick and inexpensive ways to diagnose tularemia
  • Developing antimicrobials and immunotherapies with novel mechanisms of action to treat tularemia
  • Identifying new F. tularensis vaccine candidates that can prevent or modulate infection both before and after exposure
  • Conducting clinical trials of vaccine candidates

Tularemia Bacteria and Mouse Macrophages

Microscopic image of tularemia bacteria and mouse macrophages

The image, taken with a fluorescent microscope, shows mouse macrophages (red) untreated and treated with CLDC+MPF 12 hours after infection with a virulent strain of Francisella tularensis. Intracellular F. tularensis bacteria are stained green. On the left, untreated mouse macrophages fail to control replication of F. tularensis. In contrast, cells activated with the CLDC+MPF therapeutic (on the right) have nearly eliminated all of the bacteria.
Credit: NIAID

Image comes from a study published online May 27, 2010, in PLoS Pathogens, Ireland et al.


Last Updated March 06, 2009