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Six Public Health Teams Awarded Funding to Fight Infectious Diseases, in Partnership with National Institutes of Health and Qatar National Research Fund

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Six Public Health Teams Awarded Funding to Fight Infectious Diseases, in Partnership with National Institutes of Health and Qatar National Research Fund

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Independent nonprofit CRDF Global announced today the six public health research teams awarded seed funding to fight infectious diseases, in a partnership jointly funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D). The 2014 U.S.-Qatar-MENA Infectious Disease Research Initiative was envisioned to establish new biomedical collaborations between U.S., Qatar, and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) investigators and institutions. This grant initiative is CRDF Global’s fourth with NIAID and first with QNRF to support international research on emerging and endemic infectious diseases in MENA.

The collaborations and research findings generated by the grants seek to lay foundations for awardees to pursue future funding applications to NIH, QNRF, and other agencies. The grant initiative is administered by CRDF Global, an organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services in more than 40 countries. CRDF Global is facilitating the grant competition management, peer review and award administration on behalf of NIH and QNRF.

Each award will be up to US$40,000 for one year. Collaborative research teams consisting of investigators from the U.S., Qatar, and MENA were eligible to apply. Each team had to include at least one researcher from an institution represented at the Endemic and Emerging Viral Infectious Diseases of Priority in MENA meeting in Doha, Qatar in May 2014. The meeting and follow-on grant initiative focused on viral infectious diseases.

The 2014 U.S.-Qatar-MENA Infectious Disease Research Initiative award finalists are:

  • Sudan-Qatar MERS-CoV survey: Supreme Council of Health (Qatar) and University of Gezira (Sudan)

Seroepidemiological survey of infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in humans and camels from Butana area, Sudan (2014-2015)

  • Jordan-U.S. genotyping: Jordan University Hospital (Jordan) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (USA)

Rhinovirus genotyping in Amman

  • Jordan-U.S. MERS-CoV discovery: University of Jordan (Jordan) and Purdue University (USA)

Discovery of novel MERS-coronavirus 3CLprotease inhibitors by combined structure-based and ligand-based virtual screening followed by in vitro validation and structural studies

  • Saudi Arabia-U.S molecular profiling for MERS patients: King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (USA)

A pilot study to perform molecular profiling of the neutralizing antibody repertoire in convalescent plasma of MERS-corona virus infected patients

  • Iran-U.S. HIV infection detection: Pasteur Institute of Iran (Iran) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA)

p31-based immunoassays for detection of recent HIV infection

  • Morocco-U.S. Hepatitis E study: Pasteur Institute of Morocco (Morocco) and Emory University, School of Medicine (USA)

Hepatitis E virus in Immunosuppressed patients in Morocco

“The U.S.-Qatar-MENA Infectious Disease Research Initiative brings public health scientists together to establish collaborations that will expand global knowledge to combat endemic and emerging viral diseases that affect the MENA region – and ultimately the world,” said Siri Oswald, CRDF Global Director of Research Partnerships. “Because diseases like MERS, HIV, hepatitis and others know no borders, global solutions from international science collaborators like those represented in these awardees are imperative,” Oswald said.  

Finalists from CRDF Global and NIAID’s previous grant initiatives in MENA have studied diseases such as cholera, avian influenza virus (H5N1), and leishmaniasis. In the first three cycles, the program awarded 18 teams with over US$460,000 in biomedical research funding.