NIAID’s Preparedness Plan

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within NIH, has developed their new Pandemic Preparedness Plan with preparedness efforts on two fronts.

First, researchers will identify prototype pathogens and the second key focus will be on priority pathogens. Prototype pathogens are viruses within viral families with the potential to cause significant human disease. The knowledge gained from studying prototype pathogens will also build a framework for rapid research and product development response for other viruses within that virus family should an outbreak occur.

For example, NIAID’s earlier research on SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV informed rapid vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2 in 2020. The plan’s second key research focus is on priority pathogens which are viruses already known to be capable of causing significant human illness or death, such as the Zika virus.

NIAID researchers will apply the research knowledge to translational and clinical research to develop diagnostics, including therapeutics, antivirals, monoclonal antibodies, broad spectrum approaches, and vaccines. These efforts are designed to shorten timelines between pathogen emergence and authorization/approval of candidate products.

The institute’s preparedness efforts will also include novel epidemiology and pathogen discovery programs, pre-clinical and clinical infrastructure capacity, technology enhancements to hasten therapeutic and vaccine development, and a coordinated communication structure.

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