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When Chinese authorities announced they had confirmed several human cases of H7N9 avian influenza infection in April, it set off concern about a potential pandemic. By early October, a research network created to respond to just this sort of situation had produced a vaccine and launched 2 clinical trials in the United States.
Now, the nationwide network, established in 1962 to help the United States quickly and rigorously test vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for infectious diseases, is about to expand. In late September, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced it will provide additional funding to bolster the network’s ability to conduct trials in the United States and in parts of the world where certain infectious diseases are endemic. The number of participating institutions, called Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units, will increase from 8 to 9, with each institution receiving up to $135 million a year over 7 years.
Kuehn BM. NIAID Expands Network for Vaccine and Treatment Research. JAMA. 2013;310(20):2140. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.282559