Emerging Pathogens

Emerging Pathogens

ORIP recognizes and supports the need for development and refinement of animal models for newly emerging human pathogens with the potential to cause a global health threat. In addition to its established programs and funding mechanisms, ORIP also participates in activities that allow for more rapid development and characterization of animal models in response to such public health emergencies.

An example would be the recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV), that began in Brazil in 2015, advanced to more than 28 countries, and has become a public health emergency due to the observed association between ZIKV infection in pregnant women and the severe microcephaly in their babies. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization announced ZIKV as a public health emergency of international concern. To address this global public health emergency, NIH released a Funding Opportunity Announcement in February 2016 (PAR-16-106) that provided an expedited funding mechanism to support investigations on ZIKV infection and complications. Nine NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices, including ORIP, joined this effort and committed to an accelerated approach to award funding under the Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant R21 mechanism.

Applications that targeted the development and characterization of animal models, including nonhuman primates, rodents, and other species, to study basic aspects of ZIKV infection and pathogenesis in adult males, pregnant and non-pregnant females as well as transmission to the fetus, neonate, or infant (including in-utero, postpartum, or breastfeeding) received special attention from ORIP. Under this rapid processing and assessment of ZIKV applications, ORIP identified and funded two research proposals that focus on development of animal models to study sexual (vaginal) ZIKV transmission and the impact of ZIKV infection in the fetal brain.

A NHP Model for Vaginal Zika Virus Transmission
R21 OD023818-01
Christopher James Miller
University of California at Davis

Leveraging Established Fetal Primate Models to Expedite ZIKV Investigations
R21 OD023716-01
Peter A. Barry, Ph.D., and  Stephen C. Noctor, Ph.D.
Alice F. Tarantal, Ph.D. (Contact)
University of California at Davis