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Rapid, broad countermeasures sought against mystery infections
Date:4/8/2014

A group of University of Washington scientists is seeking broad, versatile countermeasures effective against several different kinds of viruses and other pathogens. The investigators are part of a national push for faster responses to unexpected infectious agents. These include newly emerging, unknown pathogens, forgotten ones, those expanding beyond their usual geographic range, or dangerous new strains of old enemies like influenza.

"Emerging viruses are a major threat to global public health, especially because few antivirals are available to treat patients," noted Michael Katze, UW professor of microbiology who is heading the UW contributions to this effort. "There is a significant need for methods to rapidly identify newly emergent pathogens, but also to guide medical treatments and to quickly contain outbreaks."

The UW is one of seven institutions across the country recently chosen as part of the Center for Research in Diagnostic and Discovery program, under the auspices of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Centers of Excellence for Translational Research. The Center brings together experts from across the country in microbial ecology, human and microbe genetics, engineering, public health and many other fields.

In concert, the Center investigators will devise new ways to prevent, detect, track, diagnose and treat emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and counter bioterrorism. W. Ian Lipkin of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University is leading the $31 million effort. Over the next five years, the University of Washington is expected to receive approximately $5 million of this grant from NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The project extends the Katze lab's inventive, basic research to potential clinical applications against new viral pathogens, such as those behind Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Severe Acute Respirato
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@uw.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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