Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

NIAID conducts and supports basic research to better understand viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents that cause diseases of public health concern. This research provides the foundation for developing medical products and strategies to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of infectious diseases, whether those diseases emerge naturally or are deliberately introduced as an act of bioterrorism. Read more biodefense introduction.


Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax mailings of that fall, NIAID has played a key supportive role in the larger national strategy to develop medical products and strategies to counter bioterrorism and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Learn more about the NIAID role in biodefense and emerging infectious disease research.

Research Infrastructure

NIAID has a comprehensive research infrastructure with extensive resources that support all levels of biodefense and emerging infectious diseases research and pursuit of multiple broad-spectrum concepts. Learn about what is included in the research infrastructure.

Priority Pathogens

Emerging infectious diseases can be defined as infectious diseases that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range, or that are caused by one of the NIAID Category A, B, or C priority pathogens. Learn about priority pathogens.


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