Request for Information (RFI): Input on NIH Tickborne Diseases Strategic Plan

Notice Number: NOT-OD-19-077

Key Dates
Release Date : February 13, 2019
Response Date : March 13, 2019

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


This Request for Information (RFI) invites comments and suggestions on the tickborne diseases (TBD) research priorities NIH should continue or adopt over the coming years.

NOTE: It is important to read this entire RFI notice to ensure an adequate response is prepared and to have a full understanding of how your response will be acknowledged and used.


The NIH is developing a strategic plan to advance tickborne disease (TBD) research and development over the next five years and beyond.

NIH has identified five general areas of research priority:

  • Basic Research
    • Microbial, reservoir and vector biology, and interactions among those elements, that contribute to tick-transmitted diseases in humans or maintain the pathogens in sylvatic cycles
    • Host-pathogen and host-vector interactions, including immunology and pathobiology of diseases progression
    • Mechanisms behind non-infectious TBD (e.g., tick-induced red meat allergy)
    • Host immunomodulation by tick salivary components and its contribution to TBD establishment and severity
  • Diagnosis and Detection
    • New and/or improved diagnostics for TBD, including multi-pathogen platforms, rapid diagnostics, and tests to detect early infection
    • Diagnostic tests capable of demonstrating treatment success
    • Host-based diagnostics (e.g., biomarkers of exposure to tickborne pathogens), including those capable of predicting treatment outcomes in different individuals
  • Prevention
    • Safe and effective vaccines (against tickborne pathogens or tick salivary components), immunoprophylactics, and other prophylactic treatments
    • Research to identify immune correlates of protection
    • Approaches to interrupt pathogen transmission and/or survival in ticks and reservoirs
  • Therapeutics
    • New or improved therapeutic regimens to treat TBD and attendant complications
    • Research on mechanisms responsible for treatment failure
  • Resources
    • Characterization of existing reservoir, vector and host animal models
    • New models, assays, genomic resources, reagents, and data-sharing platforms

The focus areas listed above are not exhaustive, and suggested additions are welcome.

Information Requested

NIH invites input from stakeholders throughout the scientific research, advocacy, and clinical practice communities, as well as the general public, on the above proposed framework. This input is a valuable component in developing the TBD strategic plan, and the community’s time and consideration are appreciated.

NIH seeks comments on any or all of, but not limited to, the following topics in TBD research:

  • Significant research gaps and/or barriers not identified in the framework above
  • Resources required or lacking that may be critical to advancing TBD research priorities
  • Emerging scientific advances or techniques in basic, diagnostic, prevention, or therapeutic research that may accelerate NIH research priorities detailed in the framework above

NIH encourages organizations (e.g., patient advocacy groups, professional organizations) to submit a single response reflective of the views of the organization/membership as a whole when possible.

How to Submit a Response

All comments must be submitted electronically on the submission website .

Responses (no longer than 500 words per topic; attachments must be in Word or PDF format) must be received by 11:59:59 PM (ET) on 03/13/2019. You will see an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements. We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.


This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this RFI or from the Government’s use of such information.

NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future planning activities and funding opportunity announcements. 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, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


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