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Disciplines and approaches include research areas that cut across multiple diseases and conditions such as basic immunology, diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and medical countermeasures to prevent and treat the many infectious, immune-mediated, and allergic diseases. NIAID also supports research in many Diseases & Conditions.
Bacteria, fungi, and other microbes evolve over time and can develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Microbes naturally develop resistance; however, using antibiotics too often in humans and animals and in cases where antibiotics are not an appropriate treatment can make resistance develop more quickly.
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.
NIAID supports research and development of medical countermeasures against emerging diseases and terrorist threats such as radiation exposure and chemical weapons.
NIAID funded projects are generating large, diverse, complex data sets, and our research communities have become a data-intense enterprise. There is a critical need to transform these data into knowledge to more fully understand pathogen transmission and evolution, pathogen-host interactions, host immune response, and infectious and immune-mediated disease pathogenesis, as well as to develop new and improved diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
Research fields, such as genomics, proteomics, and systems biology, are creating a wealth of information about infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Through the use of advanced technologies, researchers are developing a clearer understanding of pathogens, disease, and host immunity.
NIAID conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. For more than 60 years, NIAID research has led to new therapies, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and other technologies that have improved the health of millions of people in the United States and around the world.
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from infection. Although scientists have learned much about the immune system, they continue to study how the body targets invading microbes, infected cells, and tumors while ignoring healthy tissues.
Health disparities are gaps in the quality of health and health care that mirror differences in socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic background, and education level. These disparities may stem from many factors, including accessibility of health care, increased risk of disease from occupational exposure, and increased risk of disease from underlying genetic, ethnic, or familial factors.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), such as dengue, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and leishmaniasis, are called "neglected," because they generally afflict the world's poor and historically have not received as much attention as other diseases.
NIAID pandemic preparedness focuses predominantly on viruses that could cause epidemics or pandemics and prioritizes research on prototype-pathogens, representative pathogens from viral families known to infect humans, and high-priority pathogens most likely to threaten human health.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce immune responses that protect against infection. Vaccines provide a safe, cost-effective and efficient means of preventing illness, disability and death from infectious diseases.
Vectors, including insects and ticks, are capable of transmitting infectious disease pathogens among humans or between animals and humans. NIAID is committed to conducting and supporting research to better understand the biology of vectors, how they transmit diseases, and how they find and interact with human hosts, with the goal of developing new and improved ways to prevent the transmission of diseases.
Women face unique health problems related to many NIAID mission areas—specifically, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and autoimmune disorders. Many infectious and autoimmune diseases affect female populations disproportionately.