New teams join network to model pandemic flu, other infectious outbreaks

February 01, 2006

Four new scientific teams joined an international research network developing computer-based simulations of pandemic flu and other infectious disease outbreaks, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health announced today.

The network is part of the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), an ongoing NIGMS effort to use computer modeling techniques to better understand the spread of contagious diseases and the potential impact of public health measures. The results could aid health officials and policymakers in developing preparedness plans for outbreaks that occur naturally or deliberately.

The new research groups will receive a total of approximately $7.8 million over the next five years and will collaborate with four existing MIDAS teams established in 2004.

"The MIDAS network has already demonstrated the power of applying computer models to the study of disease spread and the effects of various intervention strategies," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., NIGMS director. "The new MIDAS teams expand the network's spectrum of expertise and enhance its ability to develop robust models."

In addition to the individual research projects described below, the new MIDAS teams will contribute to the network's pandemic influenza modeling project. This project involves simulating outbreaks of a deadly flu strain in different regions of the world and then evaluating the effects of various intervention measures, such as vaccination or school closures, on containing or slowing disease spread.
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The new MIDAS awards will support researchers at:To arrange an interview with NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301. For more information about MIDAS, visit http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/MIDAS/. NIGMS (http://www.nigms.nih.gov), a component of the National Institutes of Health, supports basic biomedical research that is the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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