UIC given $14 million grant to develop biowarfare countermeasures

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago recently received a $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop medicine to fight anthrax and other biowarfare agents.

The research, to be conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, will focus on creating antibiotics for anthrax, tularemia and plague. The DOD is particularly concerned that these naturally occurring bacteria could be used in a biological attack, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Professor emeritus Michael Johnson, the lead researcher on the project, said that the bacteria pose a national security threat because of their deadly nature and the ease with which they can be spread, the Chicago Tribune reports. Johnson also said that new antibiotics that target resistant strains of the bacteria are sorely needed.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology was founded in 1994 and contains a core group of six faculty members and another six affiliate faculty members.

In 2003, the center received a $15.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop new antibiotics and prevent anthrax infection. Recently, the center received an $8 million grant to develop therapeutics for SARS.

Additionally, the center is supported from through collaboration with various pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Lybradyn, Inc., Pfizer, Protez Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Cempra Pharmaceuticals.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Department of Defense 2 N Rotary Rd Arlington, VA 22202

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