Center for Disease Event Preparedness and Response
M Louise M Pitt, S Bavari, C Schmaljohn, G Palacios, USAMRIID Response Team
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Frederick MD, USA
Efficient and effective intervention in unexpected infectious disease occurrences requires deliberate and advance preparation. A response can only be rapid and effective if potential medical solutions are already in the pipeline or existing product classes can be modified, as shown by the recent Ebola, Lassa, Nipah and Zika virus disease outbreaks. However, if faced with a new pathogen, progress towards a medical countermeasure will rely on multidisciplinary experience that is practiced collaboratively and with a top-down approach.
An accelerated defense against emerging pathogen threats platform (ADEPT), resides within USAMRIID and has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). ADEPT is a research and development (R&D) toolbox comprised of parallel efforts that converge to identify and generate medical countermeasures. The platform, in conjunction with the in-house facilities and expertise in infectious diseases requiring biosafety level 3 and 4 biocontainment, accelerates development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. This program was exercised during the Zika outbreak resulting in preliminary product data within 6 months.
USAMRIID is a state-of-the-art institute with cutting edge technologies and subject matter experts whose expertise include genomics, virology, bacteriology, entomology, toxicology, biochemistry, pathology, veterinary medicine, synthetic biology, immunology, regulatory science, and product development. The R&D toolbox includes ability to rapidly identify pathogens, prepare characterized challenge stocks, develop or use suitable animal models under the regulatory umbrella, perform advanced systems biology to gather functional information for diagnostic, immunotherapy and vaccine development, screen potential therapeutics, and evaluate potential countermeasures in appropriate animal models. USAMRIID has a strong relationship with Pharma, FDA and the medical community that allows for the rapid initiation of clinical trials.
The Institute's mission of developing countermeasures, experience in many of the WHO priority diseases, and the end-to end (pathogen to product) capabilities places USAMRIID at the forefront to respond to disease events caused by known, modified or unknown pathogens.