Antiviral Program for Pandemics

A blue illustration of a generic virus shape.
Credit: NIAID

The Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP) aims to develop safe and effective antivirals to combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as to build sustainable platforms for targeted drug discovery and development of a robust pipeline of antivirals against viruses with pandemic potential.

Why Is the Study of Antivirals a Priority for NIAID?

Widespread availability of highly effective oral antivirals that can be taken at home early in the course of infection, would prevent transmission of the virus and overwhelming surges in hospitalizations, ultimately saving lives.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?

In 2020, NIAID and partnering NIH Institutes and Centers initiated an intensive research program to prioritize and accelerate development of COVID-19 therapeutics. These ongoing efforts will be enhanced through the APP’s discovery and development initiatives.

APP projects will be led and overseen by NIAID, NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH’s Office of Research Infrastructure Programs and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Classes of Antivirals Considered for Support

APP will focus on antivirals that directly act against viral targets, specifically for RNA viruses of pandemic potential (Coronaviridae, including SARS-CoV-2, Paramyxoviridae, Bunyavirales, Picornaviridae, Filoviridae, Togaviridae, and Flaviviridae). Antivirals of interest are NEW chemical entities which include small molecules and biotherapeutics that directly block viral targets. Of particular interest is discovery and development of drug candidates with suitable safety profiles for broad use in the outpatient setting (e.g., oral, intranasal) to reduce viral burden in early stages of infection.

Antiviral Discovery

NIH will harness the creativity and strength of the biomedical research community by establishing comprehensive, cooperative therapeutics discovery groups to drive innovative antiviral drug development.

Read more about antiviral discovery

Antiviral Development

NIH will select the most promising antiviral candidates and support their preclinical and clinical evaluation to de-risk and accelerate drug development for COVID-19 and viruses with pandemic potential.

Read more about antiviral development

Opportunities For Researchers

Are You Currently Researching Antiviral Candidates? 
Submit antiviral candidates in the discovery phase through early clinical trials that target SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses of pandemic potential using the Antiviral Candidate Submission Form. The goal is to support candidates by de-risking early stage development and guiding candidates along the development path.

NIAID’s Broad Agency Announcement Antiviral Program for Pandemics is Open for Proposals 
See the 2022 NIAID Omnibus Broad Agency Announcement Research Area 003. The deadline for proposals is March 18, 2022. Additionally, the BAA includes recurring topic areas (e.g., vaccines, diagnostics, non-APP therapeutics, etc.) for possible support.

Resources for Researchers

NIAID provides access to preclinical and clinical resources through a suite of service contracts to support the development of therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics. These contract services are being leveraged to support promising antiviral therapeutics candidates through the Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP).

You may request access to these resources if you are an investigator in academia, a nonprofit organization, industry, or government in the United States or worldwide. You need not be a grantee of NIAID or another NIH Institute or Center.

Read more about preclinical and clinical resources for APP projects

Programs and Networks


The NIAID Vaccine Research Center has established a program to further support the COVID-19 response, and pandemic preparedness more broadly, called PREMISE (Pandemic REsponse REpository through Microbial and Immunological Surveillance and Epidemiology). Read about the PREMISE program.

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