$45 Million Grant to Fight Bioterror, New Diseases
of Florida and five other Southeastern universities will share
a five-year $45 million federal grant to combat bioterrorism
threats such as smallpox and emerging diseases such as SARS.
Scientists at the six institutions belonging to the Southeastern
Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and
Biodefense will collaborate to develop vaccines, diagnostic
tests and treatments for potential bioterrorism agents, said
Richard Moyer, a professor in the UF Department of Molecular
Genetics and Microbiology who serves on the consortium’s
six-member steering committee.
“I’m very optimistic that many of the threats
people are concerned about with respect to bioterrorism will
cease to be so in four or five years because we will learn
to deal more effectively with them,” said Moyer, who
also is the UF College of Medicine senior associate dean for
UF scientists have begun investigations to help create second-generation,
novel smallpox vaccines to prevent the virus from entering
human cells, and to develop new drugs to prevent the smallpox
virus from replicating, Moyer said.
Founded in 2002, the center is one of eight such collaborations
nationwide and is known as SERCEB. It will be headquartered
at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and led
by Dr. Barton Haynes of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.
Other member institutions are the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, Emory University in Atlanta, the University
of Alabama at Birmingham and Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
by Tom Nordlie