in , ,

DTRA Funds Biothreat Research Projects in Central Africa

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) intends to award a sole source contract to Global Viral Forecasting, Inc. (GVF) to continue biodefense research in various African countries under the DTRA Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). The contract is for the following research projects:

Diversity of Filoviruses in the Tropical Rainforests of Central Africa: study of pathogens such as human antibody prevalence to Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MBGV) in rural Central Africa; percentage of patients in rural Gabon infected with filoviruses; prevalence of filovirus antigens in non-human primate samples and the geographic distribution of filoviruses in Central Africa.

Remote Surveillance of Lassa Fever in Sierra Leone: using the framework of the World Health Organization Mano River Union Lassa Fever Network (MRU-LFN) and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, continue human and rodent Lassa fever surveillance in the known hyper-endemic zone of Eastern Sierra Leone with the eventual goal of developing predictive modeling tools for Lassa fever infection.

Identification and characterization of a putative novel poxvirus in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): recently analyzed biological specimens suggest that a novel human disease agent with orthopox virus-like symptoms may be emerging in Central Africa. These specimens, obtained from suspected cases of human monkeypox infection through the DRC Ministry of Health disease surveillance program, indicate that nearly one-fifth of suspected human pox cases may not result from known cases of poxvirus disease. This project will close the knowledge gap on identifying near-neighbors of moneypox virus, a close relative of smallpox virus and potentially deadly infectious agent.

Characterization of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers of Unknown Origin: this project will work to identify potentially high-consequence viral hemorrhagic fever of unknown origin from the Congo Basin.

DTRA previously has issued funds for this type of research to the United States Army Public Health Command (USPHC), Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC), Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS) which in turn placed the majority of those funds into an existing larger contract with the Henry Jackson Foundation (HJF) for the purpose of funding GVF for these projects; while the remainder of the funds stayed with GEIS for administrative support work. In order to have more direct control and project oversight, DTRA will now contract directly with GVF.

The estimated value of the contract is $2.5M over a period of three years and is to be issued under solicitation number CTB129925702. Data will aid vaccine development and help determine risks to military populations and the global community.

NASA Seeks Compact Device for Detecting Biomarkers in Space

EU Report Shows Salmonella Infections Down, E. coli Increased