Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance receive funding from NIAID

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Wednesday that it will provide funding for five Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance to further influenza pandemic preparedness.

The CEIRS locations will study influenza to understand the rapid characterization of viruses that can potentially cause pandemics.

"The CEIRS network exemplifies NIAID's dual mission of conducting basic and applied influenza research, while maintaining the ability to respond rapidly in the event of an emerging public health threat," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said. "CEIRS investigators have contributed greatly to our understanding of how influenza viruses emerge from wild and domestic animals, their adaptation to and global circulation throughout the human population and the interplay between the viruses and human immune responses."

The laboratories are located at Emory University in Atlanta; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City; Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.; and the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.

"A key mission of the CEIRS network is to foster innovative and collaborative basic research on influenza viruses, including how they evolve and adapt to animal and human hosts," NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Project Officer Diane Post said. "The information we gain could help us understand why influenza pandemics occur and could assist health officials in taking steps to mitigate outbreaks."

NIAID said the contracts will help the research and surveillance programs continue for seven years. Funding for all five sites during the first year will total $23 million.