Updates on NIAID Funding for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-2019 Research

Funding News Edition: April 01, 2020
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NIAID grantees seeking additional funds for research responsive to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 outbreak that is in scope of an ongoing grant should apply for an administrative supplement.

Credit: NIAID

Six weeks ago, we highlighted NIAID’s Urgent Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) inviting competitive revision supplement applications on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) through NIH’s Urgent funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Refer to our February 19, 2020 article “NIAID’s Multi-Pronged Response to the COVID-2019 Outbreak.”

We recently replaced the NIAID Urgent NOSI with an NIAID Emergency NOSI, Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) Regarding the Availability of Emergency Competitive Revisions for Research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which instead directs applicants to NIH’s Emergency FOA, Emergency Competitive Revision to Existing NIH Awards (Emergency Supplement, Clinical Trial Optional).

By issuing the new NIAID Emergency NOSI, we can further reduce the time to award for meritorious applications.

We strongly encourage NIAID grantees developing applications in response to the NIAID Urgent NOSI to transition to the NIAID Emergency NOSI instead. We will expire the NIAID Urgent NOSI on April 8, 2020. Applications submitted before that date will be accepted and reviewed. See the March 25, 2020 Guide notice for additional details.

The scientific research areas called for in the NIAID Emergency NOSI are:

  • Studies to identify optimal in vitro SARS-CoV-2 culture requirements and conditions
  • Development of reagents and assays for virus characterization
  • Studies to understand critical aspects of viral infection, replication, pathogenesis, and transmission
  • Studies to identify viral epitopes critical for binding neutralization
  • Studies to examine virus stability and persistence
  • Production of molecular clones of SARS-CoV-2, reporter viruses, and recombinant viral proteins
  • Development of animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection suitable for screening vaccine and therapeutic candidates and/or pathogenesis studies
  • Studies on the evolution and emergence of SARS-CoV-2 viruses including the identification of factors that affect viral host-range and virulence
  • Virologic and serologic surveillance studies of the distribution and natural history of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in animal populations and in humans at the human/animal interface with particular emphasis on host reservoirs and understanding cross-species transmission events
  • Development of sensitive, specific, and rapid clinical diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2
  • Development of SARS-COV-2 therapeutic candidates; broad-spectrum therapeutics against multiple coronavirus strains; examination of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral activity of existing or candidate therapeutics initially developed for other indications
  • Identification and evaluation of the innate, cellular, and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or candidate vaccines, including, but not limited to: cross-reactive antibodies from individuals exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses; viral epitopes critical for antibody binding and neutralization; and immune-mediated pathology or host factors that might predispose to severe infection
  • Development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates that include emerging antigen design strategies, novel platforms or delivery approaches, adjuvants, or assessing cross-neutralization potential of SARS-CoV vaccine candidates

Importantly, this is likely the fastest option for active NIAID grantees who are immediately prepared to conduct new, out-of-scope projects related to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-2019.

As a reminder, a competitive revision provides current NIAID grantees with additional funds during a current project period to support new or additional activities that are not included as part of the current award. This request reflects an expansion of the scope of the grant-approved activities.

Application budgets should not exceed the annual amount of the current parent award and should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The listed activity code will be the same as the parent award. All activity codes of currently funded NIAID grants are eligible.

In addition to the review criteria listed in the Emergency FOA (PA-20-135), your application will be assessed on the following bases:

  1. Do the investigators have immediate access to the resources (e.g., patient samples, isolates) at sufficient quantities to achieve the aims of the proposed research?
  2. If the proposed research will generate unique resources or data that may impact the public health response or medical countermeasure development, is the resource sharing plan adequate?

When you apply through the Emergency FOA (PA-20-135), you must list NOT-AI-20-034 in box 4b of the SF 424 (R&R) application.

The NOSI will remain active until March 26, 2021. Remember, in May, NIH is transitioning from FORMS-E to FORMS-F; NIH will reissue the Emergency FOA (PA-20-135) on May 25, 2020, to effect the change to FORMS-F, though you’ll still be able to submit an in-progress FORMS-E application package through June 25, 2020. Find additional details in the NIAID Emergency NOSI (NOT-AI-20-034).

If you have any questions about the NIAID Emergency NOSI, reach out to Dr. Diane Post.

Finally, note that current NIAID grantees seeking additional funds for research responsive to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 outbreak that is in scope of an ongoing grant should instead apply for an administrative supplement through the parent administrative supplements FOA (PA-18-591).

Second NOSI Encourages New Research Projects

In addition, a new notice of special interest (NOSI) seeks full research project grant proposals to conduct research on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-2019 through an array of parent FOAs. See Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The scientific research topics that most interest NIAID are the same as those listed above for the NIAID Emergency NOSI.

To apply, use the parent investigator-initiated FOA that matches your budget, project period, and eligibility needs.

Activity Code FOA Project Period Budget Cap Eligibility Notes
R01 PA-19-056 5 years None Preliminary data required
R03 PA-19-052 2 years $50,000 annual  
R21 PA-19-053 2 years $275,000 total  
R41, R42 PA-19-270 1 or 2 years See FOA Small business concerns only
R43, R44 PA-19-272 6 months or 2 years See FOA Small business concerns only
Admin Supp PA-18-591 To Current Award End Date Current Award Amount Must have an active grant; research must be in scope

Application deadlines follow NIH’s Standard Due Dates. Keep in mind, we accept administrative supplement applications on a rolling basis, and you can apply now.

In your application, you must list NOT-AI-20-031 in box 4b of the SF 424 (R&R) application.

The NOSI will remain active until April 5, 2021. Again, you’ll need to correctly choose between the FORMS-E and FORMS-F form sets; follow the instructions in our article March 18, 2020 article “Video Tutorial Previews FORMS-F Transition.”

If you have any questions about the NOSI, contact Dr. Diane Post.

Contact Us

Email us at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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