The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced awards to establish four Cooperative Research Centers (CRCs) focused on developing vaccines to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The grants, totaling $41.6 million over five years, will support collaborative, multidisciplinary research on the bacteria that cause syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. At the end of the program, each center is expected to identify at least one candidate vaccine ready for testing in clinical trials.
“STI research has recently evolved rapidly on multiple fronts, and this new knowledge can now be applied to a critical remaining challenge—the development of safe and effective vaccines for diseases that pose significant and growing public health burdens,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. “At this time, no vaccines are available to prevent syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, research at these new centers should help fill the pipeline with several vaccine candidates that have feasible pathways to licensure in the U.S.”
The centers funded through this new program all involve multiple U.S. research institutions as well as international collaborators. Each center will conduct at least three research projects organized on a common theme. The centers will be supported by scientific cores that will supply shared research services including monoclonal antibody production, microbiology laboratory services and statistical expertise.