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Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) - Directory

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Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)

Department of Defense
Work 503 Robert Grant Ave Silver Spring MD 20910 Website: WRAIR

Biography

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is the oldest and most mission-diverse biomedical research laboratory in the Department of Defense. WRAIR houses three centers, the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience and the Center for Enabling Capabilities.

Historically, infectious diseases have posed a significant threat to Soldier health and readiness and typically constituted the majority of deaths in deployed military units. WRAIR’s CIDR combines scientific expertise with product development capabilities to address the full range of diseases of national security importance to the U.S. Military.

WRAIR’s Viral Disease Branch (VDB) works in collaboration with academia, industry, and other government agencies to detect and eliminate viral threats to Soldiers by supporting disease surveillance around the world to inform force health protection decisions, identify targets for new preventives and treatments, and develop arbovirus and respiratory virus vaccines.

The Entomology Branch supports Force Readiness and global health by developing and testing products to reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases. Mosquito- and sandfly-borne diseases, including malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue, and Zika virus, are some of the most pressing threats to the medical readiness of Soldiers.

Malaria remains among the most significant infectious diseases facing U.S. Service Members deployed around the world. WRAIR’s Malaria Biologics Branch (MBB) is an integrated, broad, translational enterprise spanning discovery science to field efficacy trials. Building off historical experience developing malaria vaccines, MBB experts develop new vaccines and biologics in collaboration with global and U.S. government partners to reliably prevent malaria infection in military personnel.

The Bacterial Disease Branch (BDB) seeks to overcome these threats by developing new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, targeting the most dangerous pathogens—through the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN), developing an effective diarrheal vaccine, and new antibiotics, including bacteriophages and novel therapeutic approaches.

The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at WRAIR is at the forefront of the battle to protect U.S. troops from HIV and reduce its global impact. Since its inception in 1986, MHRP has emerged as a world leader in HIV diagnostics, threat assessment and epidemiology, and vaccine and functional cure research. MHRP implements the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) prevention and treatment initiatives, building strong and trusting relationships within the communities where research is conducted. For more information visit MHRP’s website

WRAIR’s Experimental Therapeutics (ET) branch a drug discovery and development enterprise created to protect military personnel from death, disease, and injury and meet Army and DOD mission requirements. While its historical focus has been radioprotection and parasitic disease, ET applies its core competencies of medicinal, synthetic, and analytical chemistry as well as clinical pharmacology to all therapeutic areas within the Medical Research and Development Command’s portfolio.

ET has a 75-year legacy of excellence in small molecule drug development, with over 65 Investigational New Drug (IND) applications submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA). ET is a world leader in malaria drug development—every malaria prophylaxis drug was either created by ET scientists or transited ET test systems on its way to FDA approval.  ET recently established a robust antibacterial product development effort mandated by the Presidential Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative.

After experiencing repeated resource diversion from legacy projects to contend with outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika, in 2018, WRAIR announced the creation of a new Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch (EIDB) within CIDR, with the explicit mission to survey, anticipate and counter the mounting threat of emerging infectious diseases of key importance to U.S. forces in the homeland and abroad.

WRAIR maintains a network of expeditionary laboratories to conduct its mission. Models of medical diplomacy, these programs foster U.S.-host nation collaborations in biomedical research, product development, outbreak response, and disease surveillance to support Soldier health and global health.

Walter Reed Program Increasing Biosecurity in Africa

One of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research’s overseas labs, USAMRD-A supports Soldier
health and world health and serves as a model for effective medical diplomacy, conducting
biomedical research, product development, outbreak response and disease surveillance.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, USAMRD-A works with clinical research sites in seven African countries and is known in local communities as the Walter Reed Program. They collaborate with host governments and communities to advance research on endemic diseases such as malaria and HIV, and to help identify and develop countermeasures for emerging infectious disease threats such as Ebola and Lassa fever.

USAMRD-A boasts the premier clinical trials research center in East Africa, capable of on-site clinical microbiology testing and a major site for Phase I-III clinical trials for new vaccine candidates
and treatments. Our team provides timely surveillance on current and emerging antimalarial drug resistance, serving as an early warning system for the global health community.

USAMRD-A also delivers key training throughout Africa for malaria diagnosis, specializing in classical blood smear microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests. USAMRD-A’s Department of Emerging
Infectious Diseases (DEID) plays a key role supporting the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS) and provides technical support to U.S. AFRICOM-led international scientific coalitions and strategic engagement efforts. This encompasses the rapid detection and advanced characterization of endemic, emerging, and novel threats to the force, including vectors and reservoirs of infectious disease transmission.