NIAID Request for Information (RFI): Novel and/or Non-Traditional Influenza Virus Animal Models

Notice Number: NOT-AI-18-038

Key Dates
Release Date: May 14, 2018
Response Date: June 25, 2018

Related Announcements

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


NIAID is seeking information about ongoing or planned research efforts focused on the development or existence/use of novel and/or non-traditional animal model(s) that more closely mimic human immune responses to influenza infection or vaccination and can replicate the human experience of influenza exposure history, including the effects of preexisting immunity and sequential vaccination on protective immunity over time. For the purposes of this RFI, NIAID does not consider the traditional inbred mouse strains and ferret models as novel unless they possess unique characteristics that better mimic the human immune response to influenza.

The development of a universal influenza vaccine that induces durable, broad protection against multiple influenza strains is a high priority for the NIAID. Animal models play a significant role in influenza research, especially when evaluating influenza immunity and performing preclinical testing of vaccines and novel adjuvants. However, no single animal model completely recapitulates human disease and there are gaps and limitations with the current animal models, including a lack of immunological tools for species other than mice, differences in host immune responses across species, inability to recapitulate the complexities of pre-existing immunity and sequential exposure histories of humans, and a lack of standardized assays across different laboratories.

As outlined in its recently published strategic plan, NIAID is committed to addressing this significant gap and has a specific interest in developing or utilizing novel animal models that more closely mimic human immune responses to influenza, which are shaped by sequential exposures via natural infection or vaccination (AS Fauci et al. A universal influenza vaccine: The strategic plan for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2018). For example, novel or non-traditional animal models, such as swine, non-human primates, or hamster models, may serve to test scientific questions regarding immunity and the potential impacts of subsequent influenza exposures on vaccine efficacy.
Information Requested
Organizations are invited to provide information regarding novel and/or non-traditional animal model(s) they have developed or are in the process of developing, and include information on the following model parameters:
  • Animal species used
  • Typical lifespan of the animal
  • Benefits and limitations of the animal model
  • Availability of immunological reagents for the animal model including, antibodies that recognize, activate, or deplete specific immune cell populations; methods for cytokine/chemokine detection; MHC tetramers; etc.
  • Utility of animal model in examining influenza immunity, including: vaccine candidates; effects of pre-existing immunity on vaccine efficacy and protection against subsequent infection; and how this animal model complements standard in-bred mouse and ferret models
  • Availability of pathogen-free, influenza-na ve animals
  • Viral isolate(s) used
  • Cell line used to grow the viral isolate(s)
  • Viral adaptation, i.e., were multiple passages necessary to get the virus to a sufficient titer?
  • Route of challenge, if any
  • Challenge dose
  • Readout, i.e., by what means was infection determined? Was infection apparent through clinical observations? What assays were used to measure infection? Were these assays developed de novo?
  • General cost ranges for: 1) developing animal models to examine influenza immunity over time; 2) evaluating novel influenza vaccine candidates; and 3) generation of immunological reagents

*If references are provided that describe the model and studies in detail, the above information is still requested but can be greatly minimized to reflect the more comprehensive information in the publications.

Responding organizations are additionally asked to address what reagents they would need for present and future influenza work.
Please note, this request is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government or the NIH. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI Notice or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI Notice at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. The information provided will be analyzed and may appear in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, and/or sensitive information should be included in a response. The NIH and the Government reserve the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any future solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

M. Chelsea Lane, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Telephone: 240- 627-3741