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NIAID Seeks Biodefense Dx for Viruses

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will give out $7.3 million in grants in 2010 to develop new biodefense diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, including rapid tools for identifying viral infections.

NIAID expects to award researchers up to $750,000 a year for projects of up to five years under the Partnerships for Biodefense Viral Pathogens program.

There is a need for diagnostics for viral pathogens that are "rapid, highly sensitive, specific, easy to use, [and] cost effective," NIAID said in a funding announcement. The agency expects that researchers will use the funds to develop diagnostics that eventually will obtain clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, and applications should include plans for testing and validating the test with clinical samples.

These diagnostic projects could involve development of technologies for multiplex, rapid nucleic acid, antigen, or other analyte detection tests using novel, improved sample processing and detection methods and reagents; tools capable of high-throughput multiplex screening using analytes or signature biomarkers to identify human immune or other physiological response to infection; tools that integrate multiple methods of measurements for detection in the same platform, such as detecting nucleic acids, proteins, and other targets from multiple agents in the same assay; analytical methods for high-throughput and automated data output; and in vivo imaging methods and development of contrast reagents for visualization or pathogens or host immune responses.

Another important part of the initiative will be partnerships between academic researchers from different disciplines or with industry partners from biotechnology, bioengineering, and chemical companies.

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