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QNRF backs six research teams in fight against infectious diseases
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QNRF backs six research teams in fight against infectious diseases

DOHA: Independent nonprofit CRDF Global yesterday announced that six public health research teams have been awarded seed funding to fight infectious diseases, in a partnership funded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of National Institutes of Health, and Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development.
The 2014 US-Qatar-MENA Infectious Disease Research Initiative aims to establish new biomedical collaborations between US, Qatar, and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) investigators and institutions. 
The grant is CRDF Global’s fourth with NIAID and first with QNRF to support research on emerging and endemic infectious diseases in Mena.
The award finalists are Sudan-Qatar MERS-CoV survey — Supreme Council of Health (Qatar) and University of Gezira (Sudan): Seroepidemiological survey of infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in humans and camels from Butana, Sudan (2014-2015); Jordan-US genotyping — Jordan University Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (US): Rhinovirus genotyping in Amman; Jordan-US MERS-CoV discovery — University of Jordan and Purdue University (US): Discovery of MERS-coronavirus 3CLprotease inhibitors by combined structure- and ligand-based virtual screening followed by in-vitro validation and structural studies; Saudi Arabia-US molecular profiling for MERS patients — King Saud University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (US): A pilot study to perform molecular profiling of neutralising antibody repertoire in convalescent plasma of MERS-corona virus infected patients; Iran-US HIV infection detection — Pasteur Institute of Iran and University of Maryland (US): p31-based immunoassays for detection of recent HIV infection; and Morocco-US Hepatitis E study — Pasteur Institute of Morocco and Emory University, School of Medicine (US): Hepatitis E virus in immunosuppressed patients in Morocco.

Each award will be up to $40,000 for one year.

Collaborative research teams of investigators from the US, Qatar and Mena were eligible to apply. Each team had to include at least one researcher from an institution represented at Endemic and Emerging Viral Infectious Diseases of Priority in Mena meeting in Doha last May.
The meeting and follow-on grant initiative focused on viral infectious diseases. 
“The initiative brings public health scientists together to establish collaborations to expand global knowledge to combat endemic and emerging viral diseases that affect Mena and the world,” said Siri Oswald, Director, Research Partnerships, CRDF Global. 
“Because diseases like MERS, HIV, hepatitis and others know no borders, global solutions from international science collaborators like those represented in these awardees are imperative.”
Finalists for previous grants have studied diseases such as cholera, avian influenza virus (H5N1) and leishmaniasis. In the first three cycles, the programme awarded 18 teams over $460,000 for biomedical research. 

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