The GNID program focuses on a large group of global health diseases that share several common characteristics:
- They affect the poorest and most disenfranchised populations.
- Their impact is overrepresented in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
- They are poorly understood and have been underrepresented in terms of resources for research and development, including resources for research and development of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and tools for vector-associated studies.
- They may be caused by re-emerging or by newly recognized pathogens.
In an attempt to consolidate research in the NIAID Division of Intramural Research (DIR) that spans the areas of emerging and neglected infectious diseases of global importance, the GNID will generate a comprehensive and integrated program at the host-pathogen, host-vector, and host-vector-pathogen interface. By leveraging the considerable existing expertise in genomics and post-genomic analyses, host response, systems biology, pathogenesis, immunology, vaccine development, molecular genetics, bioinformatics, vector biology, and clinical tropical medicine, the GNID will provide a home in which these disciplines can be applied to a wide range of important often-neglected infectious processes that include parasitic (helminth and non-malaria protozoan parasites), mycobacterial (Mycobacterium leprae, M. ulcerans), bacterial (Chlamydia trachomatis), viral (dengue, chikungunya, Zika) and fungal (Candida, Aspergillus) infections among others (see Neglected Infectious Disease-Associated Pathogens).
Because many of these infections are vector-borne (e.g., the filariae, Leishmania, dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and possibly M. ulcerans), a major emphasis of the program will be on the biology of host-vector and vector-pathogen interaction. Moreover, in that many (if not most) of these pathogens have overlapping geographical distributions—and coincident infections are the rule rather than the exception—interactions among phylogenetically distinct organisms will be studied within their mammalian hosts and, when appropriate, within relevant vectors.