National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has established the infectious diseases clinical research consortium.

The clinical trials network encompasses the institute’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs) and creates a new consortium leadership group.

NIAID plans to provide around $29m a year for seven years for the VTEU programme and towards the completion of its leadership group.

According to NIH, the group will include VTEU investigators and scientists with expertise in infectious diseases who will prioritise patient vaccines, diagnostics and other interventions involved in a clinical trials process.

To respond to public health emergencies, this leadership group will organise and initiate clinical trials at the VTEU sites.

It will also coordinate activities with VTEU sites implementing specific clinical trials and with scientific staff in the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID).

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NIAID director Anthony Fauci said: “For nearly 60 years, NIAID-supported VTEUs have played vital roles in developing new and improved vaccines and treatments for numerous infectious diseases, including influenza, pneumococcal disease and smallpox.”

“This flagship programme aligns with NIAID’s dual mission of conducting robust, wide-ranging biomedical research on existing infectious diseases while maintaining readiness to respond to emergent disease threats with the quick design and launch of clinical trials.”

NIH noted that the nine VTEUs, which are located at institutions across the US, will conduct Phase I to Phase IIII vaccine and treatment studies including clinical trials in coordination with industry partners.

The VTEUs may establish study sites and enrol participants at locations outside the US depending on the patient’s disease or condition.

Furthermore, the sites will be capable of conducting human challenge trials where healthy volunteers are exposed to infection under conditions of influenza, malaria and other diseases.