The West African Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (WAC-EID) addresses critical scientific gaps through field studies of animal to human disease transmission and clinical studies of human exposure with resulting disease outcome. The Center focuses on surveillance of humans, mosquitoes and ticks, and wild animals including bats, which are likely hosts of filoviruses, coronaviruses, and henipaviruses. These efforts will possibly identify new emerging viruses and produce risk maps for human exposure. The infrastructure and local expertise developed through projects in Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, along with biosafety and biosecurity training and improved diagnostics, will also prepare the region for future outbreaks of emerging viral and other infectious diseases. Research conducted in the Center will increase mechanistic understanding of animal to human viral maintenance and emergence, causes of fever and hemorrhagic diseases, diverse disease outcomes, and risks for local and international disease spread. Novel viruses with emergence potential will likely be discovered through clinical surveillance of animal hosts and vectors. The strengthening of existing collaborations between the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and its partners in Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria will support a West African network of emerging viral disease laboratories and hospitals prepared to respond quickly and effectively to future outbreaks.
This Research Center is supported by the National Institute of
Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1U01AI151801.