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NIAID to Fund Pathogen, Toxin Dx

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases plans to provide $20 million in fiscal 2011 to fund its Partnerships for Biodefense program, which supports development of candidate diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines, and adjuvants for pathogens and toxins that NIAID has labeled as Category A, B, or C priorities.

The grants will support researchers with up to $750,000 per year for up to five years from NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

The Diagnostics for Biodefense initiative will support development of diagnostics that can identify NIAID Category A, B, or C agents and their resistance profiles. NIAID needs diagnostics to identify infectious agents or toxins in diverse clinical samples, including blood, serum, sputum, swabs, urine, etc., from people in multiple stages of infection or intoxication.

NIAID is particularly encouraging development of multiplexed diagnostics and those that can provide diagnostic information on potential early symptoms.

Another priority area is medical diagnostics that use platforms that can detect multiple agents as well as drug sensitivities in clinical specimens and to rapidly distinguish if an individual is infected or intoxicated with a biological threat agent or with a common infection with similar symptoms.

The goal is to develop medical diagnostics that will help healthcare providers diagnose exposed individuals and to develop the tests with the intention of obtaining clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration.

These diagnostic tests should be rapid, sensitive, specific, easy to use, and adaptable, and the instruments should be able to run samples as needed, according to NIAID.

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