The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is updating its Strategic Plan, which will guide NIAID’s priorities over the next five years. This Request for Information (RFI) invites public feedback on NIAID’s proposed research priorities, including HIV/AIDS, and cross-cutting themes. The plan will be structured around five research priorities and several cross-cutting themes. The research priorities are outlined below.

Research Priorities:

Priority 1: Advance foundational research on the immune system, host-pathogen interactions, and pathogen biology.

  • Expand knowledge of basic immunology, including the innate and adaptive human immune system and tissue-specific immunity.
  • Increase understanding of the molecular structure and function of known viral, bacterial, fungal, prion, and parasitic pathogen components.
  • Increase knowledge into mechanisms of infection, transmission, pathogenicity, virulence, host-pathogen interactions, and development of drug resistance.
  • Advance the understanding of the basic mechanisms of HIV pathogenesis, including enhancing knowledge of latent and persistently replicating HIV reservoirs.
  • Support the development of animal models and non-animal alternate methods for basic and translational research within the NIAID mission space.

Priority 2: Apply foundational knowledge of the complex interactions between microbes and the immune system to develop and test medical countermeasures against known infectious diseases (non-HIV/AIDS).

  • Discover unique characteristics to advance specific and sensitive diagnostic technologies for infectious diseases.
  • Design and assess new or improved therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines, including identifying promising new vaccine targets and vaccine adjuvants, for infectious diseases.
  • Develop and evaluate pathogen-specific, broad-spectrum, and host-directed therapies to combat infectious diseases including antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
  • Support research and early development and testing of medical countermeasures against biological threats, whether naturally occurring or deliberately introduced.

Priority 3: Apply knowledge of HIV/AIDS to reduce HIV incidence through the development of safe and effective prevention, treatment, and cure strategies.

  • Advance HIV/AIDS prevention strategies.
  • Drive research to discover and test safe and effective therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates.
  • Develop and assess novel treatments for HIV infection and approaches for sustained remission.
  • Explore interventions to prevent and treat HIV coinfections and comorbidities.
  • Foster partnerships to determine how best to implement effective interventions at scale to maximize impact.

Priority 4: Apply knowledge of basic immunology to develop and enhance intervention strategies for asthma, allergic and immune-mediated diseases, and transplantation.

  • Develop and assess novel strategies for earlier detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of asthma, and allergic and immune-mediated diseases.
  • Advance immune-based treatments, including cellular therapies, gene therapies, tolerance approaches, and other strategies, to treat immunodeficiencies and autoimmune diseases.
  • Develop and evaluate approaches to improve the long-term success of organ, tissue, cell transplantation, and gene therapy.

Priority 5: Support innovative research efforts to prepare for and respond to nationally or internationally significant biological incidents affecting public health.

  • Characterize prototype and priority pathogens, including understanding viral biology and structure, vector biology/ecology, host immune responses, mechanisms of immune evasion, and disease pathogenesis.
  • Leverage expertise in infectious diseases, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and access to clinical samples to develop and test rapid-response diagnostics for biological threats and emerging infectious diseases.
  • Apply knowledge gained from prototype pathogen research to define key antigenic targets for viral family vaccine strategies, utilizing technologies such as artificial intelligence.
  • Develop and evaluate pathogen agnostic and pathogen-specific therapeutics, as well as broad-spectrum protective strategies through trained innate immunity and immunomodulation.
  • Develop and support efficient, flexible, and responsive clinical trial capacity and clinical research expertise to be able to respond to biological incidents affecting public health.

In addition to the above research priorities, NIAID is seeking input on additional themes including diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); Women’s Health; health disparities; research inclusivity; and global health. Other topics of interest include infrastructure and research facilities, data science and sharing, and workforce training.

Responses must be received by May 27, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

To view additional details and submit RFI responses, please visit here.