- NIH grants to aid study of smallpox

New grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health will aid in immunological research on several diseases, including smallpox, which could be used by bioterrorists.

The $18.8 million in funding, which will be given over five years, will also aid research on dengue, malaria and tuberculosis.

The research will be conducted at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology in California and will focus on the identification of epitopes, which are pieces of a virus or microbe that the human immune system can launch an attack upon. The goal of the La Jolla researchers is to identify epitopes that can be potential targets in the development of vaccines.

The research will be lead by Alessandro Sette, an expert on vaccine development and the director of the La Jolla Institute's Center for Infectious Disease.

The La Jolla researchers are also currently investigating West Nile virus, adenoviruses and avian influenza. The researchers are also working on anthrax in addition to the smallpox, bot of which are concerns in the bioterrorism arena.

Until now, the Center has focused on emerging disease threats and bioterrorism. The addition of dengue, malaria and tuberculosis is a sign that, in addition to bioterrorism, infectious diseases of poverty are becoming more of a priority.

Organizations in this story

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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