The mission envisioned for this program is to develop new knowledge with the goal of directly applying this knowledge to the diagnosis, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of both biologic agents of mass destruction and other human viral infections.
While history already informs us that infectious diseases are and have been the most prominent causes of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, scientists and physicians have begun to realize the enormous impact of acute and chronic viral infections on human health and well-being. The impact of HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Human papillomavirus, and Influenza alone are staggering, amounting to over several million deaths worldwide each year. In addition, the new world in which we live recognizes the lurking concern of existing and re-engineered viruses harnessed for bioterrorism – and the corresponding possibility of adversely impacting our economic infrastructure and/or producing illness or death in significant numbers of our population. For these reasons new efforts toward research into the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of smallpox, anthrax, plague, tularemia, and hemorrhagic fever viruses is imperative. In addition the tools of molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics suggest that the field of virology is likely to explode during the 21st century as physicians and scientists increasingly become aware of and convinced that many diseases plaguing humankind may be viral in origin – malignancies, neurological, and cardiovascular diseases as examples. Finally, the aging of our population, and the concomitant age-related impairment in immunity, also increases the importance of understanding viral pathogenesis.
To build an outstanding extramurally funded research program in immunovirology and biodefense.
To establish, build, and sustain an extramurally-funded new research program dedicated to the discovery and application of new knowledge in the diagnosis, understanding, prevention, and treatment of viral-induced illness and the prevention of bioterrorism by the use of biologic agents of mass destruction.
- Establish a program dedicated to the discovery and application of new knowledge in the diagnosis, understanding, prevention, and treatment of viral-induced illnesses and bioterrorism.
- Develop independent, extramural support for the program.
- Produce new knowledge directly applicable to both maintaining and improving human health.