Release Date:  July 19, 2002


National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

INTERESTED PARTIES PLEASE NOTE:  NIAID will host a public briefing on a 
proposed Request for Applications for Regional Centers of Excellence for 
Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RFA AI-02-031)  
The RFA is expected to be released on or about August 8, 2002.  The 
NIAID also intends to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 
establishment of a network of Regional Biocontainment Laboratories 
(RBLs) which will also be discussed at this meeting.  This RFP is 
expected to be available on or about September 2002.  The briefing will 
be held on August 8, 2002, at the Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian 
Center, 9751 Washingtonian Boulevard, Gaithersburg, Maryland  20878 
(telephone:  1-301-590-0044).  The briefing for the RCEs will begin at 
9:00 am and the RBLs will begin at 1:00 pm.  Registration will be 
provided at the meeting.

The NIAID is establishing the Regional Centers of Excellence for 
Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE) Program.  
Each Center will serve a geographical area and will be comprised of 
investigators at one or more participating universities and/or regional 
institutions within the region.  

The overall goal of the RCE Program is to develop and maintain strong 
infrastructure and multifaceted research and development activities 
that will provide the scientific information and translational research 
capacity to make the next generation of therapeutics, vaccines and 
diagnostics against the CDC Category A-C Agents, with particular 
emphasis on Category A.  To accomplish this goal, the Centers will be 
provided with support 1) to develop and conduct programs of 
investigator-directed research; 2) to train researchers and other 
personnel for biodefense activities;  3) to develop and maintain 
comprehensive core facilities to support the research and training 
activities of the RCE; 4) to develop translational research capacity 
for testing and validating vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic concepts 
for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases; 5) to maintain and 
make available core facilities and other support to approved 
investigators from academia, biotechnology companies, the 
pharmaceutical industry, and other appropriate entities in the region 
for the purpose of performing basic research and for testing and 
evaluating vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for CDC Category A-C 
Agents; 6) to be ready and available to provide facilities and 
scientific support to first-line responders in the event of a national 
biodefense emergency.

A necessary component of the Centers' success will be the availability 
of adequate BSL3/4 biocontainment facilities.  Access to appropriate 
Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBLs) will be arranged with the 
help of NIAID staff if an award is made and once the RBL contractors 
have been selected.

Comments on the RFA are not being requested at this time.

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