Two centres for infectious diseases established

02/05/04

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a so-called centre subsidy to two research centres which are currently being established. Each centre will receive a total of 1.35 million euros. These funds must be used by the centres over the next five years to carry out multidisciplinary research towards the prevention, management or treatment of infectious diseases in the Netherlands or in developing countries. The focus is on flu, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Flu vaccine
Under the leadership of Prof. J.C. (]an) Wilschut, Departments of Medical Microbiology and Molecular Virology, University of Groningen In this centre, named NIVAREC (Netherlands Influenza Vaccine Research Centre), researchers from the University of Groningen and the Erasmus MC Rotterdam will work together with researchers from Solvay Pharmaceuticals in Weesp. The centre wants to develop and produce new flu vaccines to ensure that the Netherlands is optimally prepared for a flu pandemic.

AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
Under the leadership of Prof. J.W.M. (Jos) van der Meer, Department of General Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Medical Centre This centre, named PRIOR (Poverty Relationship Infection Oriented Research), forms a unique cooperation for the control of poverty-related infectious diseases in the third world. Researchers from Nijmegen University Medical Centre, Leiden University Medical Center, Universiteit Maastricht, Wageningen University and Research Centre and the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) will work together with colleagues in Tanzania and Indonesia. The aim is to develop a knowledge infrastructure in third world countries for poverty-related infectious diseases.

The subsidy for research centres is one of the initiatives from ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) and NWO to stimulate research into infectious diseases. In 2002 TOPIZ, (Platform for the future research of infectious diseases), was set up. TOPIZ draws attention to the importance of the knowledge infrastructure for infectious diseases as part of the preparation for future problems. Since 2001, ZonMw and NWO have been involved in the establishment of EDCTP, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership. EDCTP facilitates clinical research in developing countries into HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The subsidy for research centres is a joint initiative from NWO, NWO-WOTRO (Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research) and ZonMw. The centres must strengthen the cooperation between subject areas such as cell biology, immunology, epidemiology and social scientific research. The centres are virtual, in other words research groups from different institutes participate in the centres.

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