Notice of NICHD, NINDS, NIDCR and NIAID's Interest to Prioritize Zika Virus (ZIKV) Research Areas

Notice Number: NOT-HD-16-004

Key Dates
Release Date:   February 5, 2016

Related Announcements
NOT-AI-16-026      

Issued by
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Purpose

NICHD, NINDS, NIDCR and NIAID are issuing this Notice to highlight interest in research on Zika virus (ZIKV) as it relates to the mother-infant dyad and sequelae of infection.  

Areas of high priority include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Demonstrate causative role of infection in pregnancy with Zika virus (ZIKV) in the etiology of fetal microcephaly
  • Basic research to understand the ZIKV infection pathogenesis and transmission to the fetus, whether in-utero, postpartum, or breastfeeding
  • Population-based studies to characterize the epidemiology of ZIKV infection in the mother-infant dyad
  • Clinical studies to improve the understanding of the mechanisms and risks of maternal to child transmission of ZIKV
  • Determine the timeline for when and how women transmit ZIKV to the fetus
  • Strategies to prevent transmission of ZIKV to the fetus after infection in the mother
  • Studies to determine the optimal screening for and management of ZIKV infection in pregnant women and in exposed fetuses
  • Studies to understand the mechanisms by which ZIKV affects the developing nervous system and other organ systems
  • Research to develop lab-based or point-of-care diagnosis for ZIKV using saliva as a biofluid
  • Studies to characterize the outcome of viral infection on craniofacial skeletal and dental phenotype with or without microcephaly
  • Studies to understand pregnancy outcomes in women infected with ZIKV
  • Studies to identify sequelae in infants infected with ZIKV as well as potential sequelae in exposed but uninfected infants
  • Strategies to identify neurologic and other manifestations in infants with and without microcephaly such as developmental delays and other neurologic or physical disorders
  • Studies to assess and characterize the natural history and long-term neurodevelopmental consequences of ZIKV infection in children
  • Strategies to identify effective treatments for exposed infants with and without microcephaly as they develop into childhood.  Such strategies must take into account cultural acceptance and resources
  • Investigations of mediating and moderating factors affecting variability in neurodevelopmental, behavioral, and socio-emotional impact of ZIKV exposure on infants prenatally and postnatally
  • Develop novel, simple, feasible and cost-effective testing methods and/or strategies for infection screening during pregnancy
  • Develop novel, simple, rapid, feasible and cost effective testing methods and/or strategies for infection screening in the infant
  • Research to develop lab-based or point-of-care diagnosis for ZIKV using saliva as a biofluid
  • Develop culturally sensitive strategies to increase knowledge about the relative efficacy of contraceptive methods, and use that knowledge to plan for pregnancy
  • Strategies to integrate the discussion of risk of ZIKV infection into contraceptive counseling and pre-pregnancy and prenatal care at medical facilities in ZIKV endemic areas
  • Determine long-term implications of ZIKV infection in non-pregnant women and men including impact on fertility and subsequent pregnancy
  • Studies to ascertain if ZIKV is present in reproductive fluids such as semen, cervical mucus, vaginal secretions and/or follicular fluid; persistence of ZIKV in these fluids; and the mechanisms by which ZIKV enters the reproductive tract
  • Studies on effects of ZIKV on in vitro fertilization
  • Studies on whether ZIKV can be transmitted by direct sexual contact or artificial reproductive technology procedures
  • Once causality is demonstrated, studies on vaccine development in pregnant women and children
  • Once causality is demonstrated, development of methods to explain risk of ZIKV infection and risk of harm to the fetus to pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant

Possible funding opportunities that can be used to pursue these research activities include:

  • PA-16-031, Advancing Understanding, prevention, and management of Infections Transmitted from Women to their Infants (R21)
  • PA-16-032, Advancing Understanding, prevention, and management of Infections Transmitted from Women to their Infants (R01)
  • NOT-TW-16-001, Parallel Funding Initiative for Collaborative Research Between Investigators in the USA and in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • PAR-16-061, Natural History of Disorders Identifiable by Screening of Newborns (R01)
  • PAR-14-331, Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research Across the Lifespan (R21)
  • PAR-14-332, Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research Across the Lifespan (R01)
  • PAR-15-192 , Immune System Plasticity in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Complex Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases (R01)
  • PAR-15-193, Immune System Plasticity in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Complex Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases (R21)
  • PA-13-302,  R01 Research Project Grant  
  • PA-13-303, R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant  

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Nahida Chakhtoura MD, MsGH
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Telephone: 301-435-6872
Email: nahida.chakhtoura@nih.gov

May Wong, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone:  (301) 496-1431
Email:  wongm@ninds.nih.gov

Lillian Shum, Ph.D.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-0618
Email:  ShumL@mail.nih.gov

Walla Dempsey, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone:  240-292-4197
Email: wdempsey@niaid.nih.gov
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