Request for Proposal (RFP) Announcement: Quantitative Viral Outgrowth Assay (QVOA) Service Resource, NIAID-DAIDS-NIHAI2013184

Notice Number: NOT-AI-14-046

Key Dates
Release Date: April 4, 2014

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)



The mission of the Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (DAIDS), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is to ensure an end to the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic by supporting research that can lead to the prevention, treatment, and eventual cure of HIV disease.

HIV-1 replication can be effectively suppressed in HIV infected patients using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). However, despite effective suppressive therapy, HIV has been known to exist in a state of latency, with the best characterized latent reservoir being the resting memory CD4+ T cells. These resting cells produce HIV when their resting state is reversed following cellular activation. To achieve a cure for HIV disease, an important DAIDS scientific priority, the latent reservoir of HIV needs to be identified and eliminated.

DAIDS supports basic research as well as pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of various HIV eradication strategies. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies at clearing the latent reservoir, a reproducible assay capable of quantifying latent HIV is crucial. The best characterized assay today is the QVOA (Quantitative Viral Outgrowth Assay), also known as IUPM assay (Infectious Units Per Million) (Siliciano and Siliciano 2005), performed on highly purified resting CD4+ T cells under conditions that reverse latency and induce replication of HIV. However, QVOA measurements require large volumes of blood, are expensive, tedious, and labor intensive and therefore not the assay of choice for many laboratories conducting HIV eradication research.

NIAID has a requirement to provide the QVOA as a service to the HIV research community. This service will allow standardized QVOA measurements so that unbiased comparisons between different eradication strategies can be achieved. Widespread use of the assay will raise the standards for latent HIV detection and reduce the need for surrogate, less accurate assays, presently used by some laboratories.


The scope of the work includes:

  • Performance of the QVOA
  • Development of alternative assays to the QVOA. The aim will be the development of assays that are less costly, require smaller amounts of blood, and can be completed more rapidly, while maintaining or exceeding the sensitivity of the QVOA.
  • Training investigators to perform the QVOA at the Respondent’s site

The Contractor shall use state-of-the art technologies to accomplish the objectives and shall incorporate new and improved technologies into activities when appropriate.

Options: The Government may exercise options, at its discretion, to extend the term of the contract beyond the base period (Year 1), annually, for a total contract period of up to 7 years. Assume that the scope and types of activities as outlined herein (i.e., for Year 1 of the contract) would be continued for each succeeding annual contract period up to 7 total years.

In addition, the Government may exercise options for an increased level of effort that may result from unanticipated increases in demand for the services supported by the base requirements of this contract.  Options for increased services may include the following:

Increased Level of Effort for Additional Services:  During the course of the contract it may be necessary to incorporate additional services to support new NIAID-supported clinical studies and trials.  Such an increase would require an increase in the Contractor's activities to be activated, at the discretion of the Government, as an option.  Each option of this type will implement work commensurate with the addition of .55 FTEs to perform and estimated 80 additional assays.  One (1) but not more than two (2) Options may be exercised in any one year.

Proposals will be evaluated for technical approach, scientific and technical personnel, project management, resources, facilities, equipment, and capability to address options.

Any responsible offeror may submit a proposal which will be considered by the Agency.  This RFP will be available electronically on/about April 14, 2014, and may be accessed through FedBizOpps  This notice does not commit the Government to award a contract.  No collect calls will be accepted.  No facsimile transmissions will be accepted.

For this solicitation, the NIAID will require proposals to be submitted via two methods: (1)
Disc (CD or DVD) and (2) Online via the NIAID electronic Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website. The content of the disc and online proposals must be identical. Submission of proposals by facsimile or e-mail is not acceptable.

For directions on using eCPS, go to the website and then click on "How to Submit."


Please direct all inquiries to:

Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Division of Extramural Activities
Office of Acquisitions
6700B Rockledge Drive
Room 3214, MSC 7612
Bethesda, MD 20892-7612

Points of Contact

George Keane
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone: 301-451-3690

Michelle L. Scala
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone: 301-496-0612