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Infectious Diseases

LANL/UCLA Receive $6 Million FY06 Appropriation to Develop High-Speed, High-Volume Laboratory Network Against Infectious Diseases

A laboratory for globally accessible automated testing will provide a first-line defense against the flu and change the way we respond to outbreaks.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have formed a collaboration to develop a new response capability and early warning system against influenza and other threatening infectious disease outbreaks.  LANL will build the high-speed, high-volume laboratory system and UCLA will house and utilize it to serve the nation's health.  According to Tony J. Beugelsdijk at LANL and Scott P. Layne at UCLA, who are the two principal investigators, the DoD/DTRA appropriation comes at time when avian influenza continues to spread worldwide.

The UCLA laboratory will be the first of its kind and serves as a model.  Additional experimental sites, or nodes, will be located throughout the United States.  This innovative network will provide a new method of generating and distributing the rapid, accurate, and near real-time information needed to deal with an outbreak and to safeguard public health.

The high-speed, high-volume laboratory will help to protect lives in many ways.  In the event of human transmission of influenza, the laboratory will provide information to guide emergency outbreak control with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu.  The laboratory network will provide faster information for vaccine strain selection.  It will continuously monitor for the emergence of escaping influenza strains and thereby guide critical decisions to update pandemic vaccines or use them in combination with limited supplies of antiviral drugs.  The laboratory network will also create a capacity that is far faster and at least 10-fold greater than currently exists to fully characterize the influenza virus as it evolves.

Chemistry Division’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering Group will lead this project in collaboration with the B Division’s Genomic Sequencing and Computational Biology Group and ESA Division’s Applied Engineering Technologies Group to build the first node and install it at UCLA.

Contact: Tony Beugelsdijk
Date: 1/11/06

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