NIAID Funds New Influenza Research Network

April 14, 2021

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of swine influenza virus particles (green) attached to and budding from the surface of a cell (purple).

Credit: NIAID

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has established a network of research sites to study the natural history, transmission and pathogenesis of influenza and provide an international research infrastructure to address influenza outbreaks. The program, called the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR), is expected to be supported for seven years by NIAID contracts to five institutions. Funding for the first year of the contracts will total approximately $24 million. CEIRR will replace the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) program, which was supported by contracts that concluded on March 31, 2021. 

The CEIRR sites will conduct studies in the United States and internationally that follow cohorts of people to evaluate influenza-related research areas, such as understanding immune responses to vaccination and infection and identifying which immunological factors can determine influenza disease severity. They also will undertake projects on influenza surveillance, including transmission of influenza viruses from animals to humans (zoonotic transmission) to better understand how influenza viruses evolve, adapt and transmit. The sites will prepare studies that could be rapidly launched as part of emergency research responses to outbreaks of influenza and other emerging viral pathogens. 

Although CEIRR is primarily focused on influenza, the network also will study SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other emerging viruses of pandemic potential. The following sites have been awarded a contract by NIAID as part of the CEIRR program:

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
Contract number: 75N93021C00014
Amount: $6,001,311
Principal investigator: Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Ph.D.

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
Contract number: 75N93021C00015
Amount: $6,984,256
Principal investigator: Scott Hensley, Ph.D.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee
Contract number: 75N93021C00016
Amount: $8,992,234
Principal investigator: Richard Webby, Ph.D.
Co-Principal investigator: Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Ph.D.

Emory University in Atlanta 
Contract number: 75N93021C00017
Contractor Name: Emory University
Amount: $1,000,671
Principal investigator: Walter Orenstein, M.D.
Co-Principal investigator: Anice Lowen, Ph.D.

University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., Athens
Contract number: 75N93021C00018
Amount: $1,000,000
Principal investigator: Stephen Mark Tompkins, Ph.D.
Co-Principal investigator: Pejman Rohani, Ph.D.

WHO:
Marciela DeGrace, Ph.D., program officer in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, NIAID, is available to comment on the CEIRR program. 
 

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