United World for Antiviral Research Network (UWARN) study

Principle Investigator: Najeeha Talat Iqbal

Team members: ​Farah Qamar, Erum Khan, Ali Faisal Saleem

Funding agencies & funding:
National Institute of Health (NIH) USA
CREID (Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases)
USD $752,034


UWARN addresses eme​rging viral infectious diseases by carrying out research with collaborating partner research laboratories in Brazil, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa and Taiwan.

​​UWARN research will develop innovative diagnostic reagents and improve understanding of how viruses manipulate the human immune system. This will facilitate the development of better biomarkers to predict severe disease as well as host-directed therapies that could improve outcomes of viral infection.

UWARN will serve as one of ten NIAID Centers in the CREID Network, consisting of multi​​​disciplinary teams of investigators, working in over 30 countries. The CREID network will be coordinated by the Research Triangle Institute​ (RTI), a large nonprofit research organization with regional and project offices in over 75 countries, and Duke University, known for its medical research and home to the Duke Human Vaccine Institute​. Together they will serve as the CREID Coordination Center ​(CC).

Project outline

AKU is contributing towards development of clinical cohorts in UWARN from in-patient​ and out-patient surveillance of viral/febrile illness, investigating the etiology of viral illness, developing molecular diagnostics for Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya viruses. 

Our team is working on underst​anding key immune pathways activated during viral illness, deposition of SARS CoV sequencing in hospitalized patients and the associate severity of diseases with mutations in Spike proteins.  

We are undertaking outbreak in​​​vestigations of new emerging pathogen and reporting unexplained viral/febrile illness. 

Project aims 

We aim to build international laboratory capacity and clinical cohorts in South America, West and South Africa, and South and East Asia to understand emerging arboviruses using genomic approaches, and establish specimen and information sharing networks. Detection of novel viral emergence will depend upon capacity for sampling and local sequence analysis. UWARN laboratories will serve as a resource for other centers in the EIDRC network, contributing expertise in immune response, monoclonal antibodies, and protein design. 

Timeline: 2021-2025
Field coordinator

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