The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has awarded 11 grants with a total first-year value of approximately $17 million to establish the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). The global network will involve multidisciplinary investigations into how and where viruses and other pathogens emerge from wildlife and spillover to cause disease in people. NIAID intends to provide approximately $82 million over five years to support the network. Funding will support a coordinating center led by Duke University along with RTI International.
The world’s governments weren’t ready for the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID and others within the federal research apparatus, now make moves to invest in new targeted research that can hopefully ensure far greater awareness and readiness concerning new viruses and other pathogens. By forming a new investigator network dedicated to studying emerging diseases, the U.S. federal research agency creates a powerful, new, and targeted initiative.
CREID: Pursuing New Pathogens
Each Center in the network will involve collaborations with peer institutions in the United States and 28 other countries. Research projects will include surveillance studies to identify previously unknown causes of febrile illnesses in humans; find the animal sources of viral or other disease-causing pathogens; and determine what genetic or other changes make these pathogens capable of infecting humans. CREID investigators also will develop reagents and diagnostic assays to improve detection of emerging pathogens and study human immune responses to new or emerging infectious agents. Overall, the breadth of research projects in the CREID network will allow for study of disease spillover in multiple phases of the process: where pathogens first emerge from an animal host; at the borders between wild and more populated areas, where human-to-human transmission occurs; and, finally, in urban areas, where epidemic spread can occur.
Regional Focus Worldwide
Each Center will focus efforts on one or more regions of the world. In Central and South America, for example, studies will include investigations of several arthropod-borne viruses (“arboviruses”), including the ones that cause Zika virus disease, chikungunya and dengue. In East and Central Africa, focus pathogens will include Rift Valley fever virus and the coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. In West Africa, in addition to arboviruses, projects are slated on Ebola virus and Lassa virus. In Asia and Southeast Asia, investigators will conduct research on coronaviruses and arboviruses. In every region, investigators will be poised to study any newly emerging pathogen, dubbed “pathogen X.”
RTI International & Duke University: The Coordinating Center
An award to RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in collaboration with Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, will fund a CREID Coordinating Center. This center will support network-wide activities such as data management, outbreak research response and quality control for biospecimens, assays and reagents. It will also administer a pilot research program for early career investigators.
The Investigator Network
The Coordinating Center, 10 CREIDs, principal investigators, Center name, research regions and grant numbers are:
Donald Brambilla, Ph.D., RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Tony Moody, M.D., Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
CREID Coordinating Center; 1 U01AI151378-01
Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
West African Emerging Infectious Disease Research Center (WAEIDRC)
West Africa; 1 U01 AI151812-01
Eva Harris, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
American and Asian Centers for Arboviral Research and Enhanced Surveillance (A2CARES)
Central and South America, South Asia; 1 U01 AI151788-01
Christine K. Johnson, VMD, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
EpiCenter for Emerging Infectious Disease Intelligence (EEIDI)
Central Africa and South America; 1 U01 AI151814-01
M. Kariuki Njenga, DVM. Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman
Center for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases-East and Central Africa (CREID-ECA)
East and Central Africa; 1 U01 AI151799-01
Anavaj Sakuntabhai, M.D., Ph.D., Institut Pasteur, Paris
Pasteur International Center for Research on Emerging Infectious Diseases (PICREID)
West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia; 1 U01 AI151758-01
Nikos Vasilakis, Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Coordinating Research on Emerging Arboviral Threats Encompassing the Neotropics
Central and South America; 1 U01 AI151807-01
Wesley C. Van Voorhis, M.D., Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle
United World Antiviral Research Network (UWARN)
South America, West and South Africa, Middle East, and Asia; 1 U01 AI151698-01
David Wang, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Center for Research in Emerging Infectious Disease-Epidemiology, Surveillance, Pathogenesis (CREID-ESP)
Asia, East Africa; 1 U01 AI151810-01
Scott C. Weaver, Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
West African Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (WAC-EID)
West Africa; 1 U01 AI151801-01
Call to Action: For more information about the CREID Network check out the website.