University of Maryland institute wins grants to battle disease in Africa

Grants worth $23 million aim to help detect and respond to disease in West Africa.

The Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's was awarded a combined $23 million in funding to boost the abilities of two West African countries to cope with a scourge of infectious diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola.

The $13 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be used to strengthen infectious disease laboratory capacity and infrastructure in Kenya, and another $10 million will be used to enhance early detection and response abilities to disease threats in Nigeria.

The five-year Kenya grant supports an institute partnership with Kenya's Ministry of Health, the National Public Health Laboratory Services and the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service to improve laboratory services for prevention, surveillance, and treatment of infectious diseases there.

The five-year grant for Nigeria is for the institute to partner with CDC-Nigeria and the Nigerian Ministry of Health to build the capacity and expertise to rapidly detect and respond to emerging infectious disease threats, such as Ebola.

"Kenya and Nigeria each have a high burden of HIV, and remain at significant risk for additional epidemics which are dependent on successful biosecurity infrastructures that these awards will help provide," said Dr. Robert R. Redfield Jr., division head of clinical care and research at the Institute of Human Virology and a University of Maryland School of Medicine professor.

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