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NIAID Funding Malaria Genomics, Field Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will give $13.8 million in grants in the next year to support the creation of centers that will use molecular, clinical, and field research approaches to develop greater knowledge about malaria.

The International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research program will fund as many as 12 grants in 2010 to establish centers in malaria-endemic regions that will provide knowledge, tools, and strategies that government and health care institutions can use to diagnose the disease or develop treatments.

Applicants for the ICEMR program may request budgets for up to seven years. NIAID expects to make one award each for seven malaria-endemic regions in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Amazonia, and Latin America.

These epidemiology projects should be multi-site studies involving at least three of the field sites proposed by the centers, said NIAID in the request for applications. The centers should adopt a multidisciplinary approach to the research that integrates clinical and field aspects with laboratory, molecular, and genomic methods.

"Although various efforts to curb malaria have been launched, it has become increasingly clear that sustainable and effective malaria control requires an improved understanding of the complex interactions among the parasite, the mosquito vector, and the human host in local clinical and field settings," NIAID explained in its funding request.

The research areas include studies of malaria transmission, pathogenesis, and diagnosis. These studies could involve development and evaluation of rapid diagnostic tools that can evaluate anti-malarial drugs, and development or adaptation of robust genomic tools for analysis of host, parasite, and vector specimens. Researchers also could use the funding to conduct research toward developing and evaluating field deployable genomic surveillance tools for parasites and vectors.

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