Research on a Mission: Five Years with MIDAS
Disease Modeling Efforts Gain New Ground
To help the nation—and the world—understand and prepare for contagious outbreaks, the National Institutes of Health’s Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) adds new research expertise to increase its capacity to simulate disease spread, evaluate different intervention strategies and help inform public health officials and policymakers. In recent years, a number of new diseases have emerged and infected people around the world. In 2003, a respiratory illness called SARS spread quickly from China to 37 other countries. A few years later, the United States experienced a major spike in cases of MRSA, the drug-resistant "superbug" version of Staphylococcus aureus. And just this summer, an H1N1 strain of flu caused international concern as it traveled to nearly all the continents.
Some of the best available tools for studying infectious disease dynamics and interventions are computational models. They incorporate basic information about a disease and the affected communities to simulate the spread of an infectious agent under any number of conditions. The results can help scientists, health officials and policymakers develop and implement control measures both before and during an outbreak.
"Models can't tell us what will happen, but they do allow us to explore a range of possibilities for disease containment," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the NIH component supporting MIDAS. "Since its launch in 2004, the MIDAS research network has been at the forefront of infectious disease modeling efforts, and we hope it continues to serve an important role in preparing for possible outbreaks."The new MIDAS grants, which include two Centers of Excellence and three research projects, will receive an estimated total of up to $40 million over the next five years.
The Centers of Excellence will carry out research on modeling, develop outreach programs in public health policy and establish training programs worldwide.
The three newly funded research groups will develop computational models of how infectious diseases develop, spread and can be contained or mitigated through public health interventions.
In addition to these projects, MIDAS scientists have already published preliminary findings on the origin, infectiousness and likely spread of the 2009 H1N1 virus. This research builds on the MIDAS program’s existing focus on modeling pandemic flu.
To arrange an interview with NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg, Ph.D., contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about MIDAS, visit /Research/FeaturedPrograms/MIDAS.
NIGMS is a part of NIH that supports basic research to increase our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more information on the Institute's research and training programs, see http://www.nigms.nih.gov.
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.
This page last reviewed on
8/9/2018 5:41 PM
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