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The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

A Global Leader in Infectious Disease Research

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is a leader in global efforts against the world’s most pervasive and high impact infectious diseases, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and dengue.  Infectious diseases pose a significant and persistent threat to force protection and readiness and while the primary mission of Army medical research is protection of the U.S. Service and their family members, vaccines and treatments developed by Army researchers also benefit global public health. 

Around the world, WRAIR infectious disease physicians and scientists work alongside civilian researchers and medical professionals to test and develop products that will ultimately reduce the impact of some of the world’s most lethal diseases. 

Some of the WRAIR’s enduring contributions to global health include:

  • Developing some of the most widely used anti-malarial drugs, including chloroquine, primaquine, mefloquine, doxycycline and atovaquone/proguanil
  • Leading the trial of the first HIV/AIDS vaccine to demonstrate some protection against infection
  • Advancing major steps forward in the scientific advancement of a first-ever malaria vaccine and took part in Phase III testing overseas (with GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Helping develop vaccines to prevent meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A, adenovirus and influenza 

Research Efforts in the U.S. and Overseas

The WRAIR Center for Military Infectious Disease Research combines scientific expertise with product development to prevent a range of diseases of strategic importance to the US military. In the U.S., WRAIR’s infectious disease laboratories develop and test prophylactic/therapeutic drugs and vaccines, diagnostics, and vector countermeasures. WRAIR also maintains a strong network of overseas medical research labs in Kenya, Thailand and Georgia. These labs operate in conjunction with the Department of State and host nation partners to conduct clinical trials in endemic areas, resulting in medical advances that benefit both military and global health. In addition to conducting medical research on locally endemic diseases, the labs also participate in international disease outbreak detection and response efforts.

Unique Resources

Located in Silver Spring, Maryland, WRAIR boasts cutting-edge research equipment and laboratories, including biosafety level 3 laboratories, accredited animal research facilities and sleep suites.

Pilot Bioproduction Facility
WRAIR’s PBF produces up to 2,000 doses for pilot studies of vaccines and drugs used in pre-clinical and human clinical studies and trials. It is one of only a few pilot facilities that meets FDA and all regulatory standards, including Good Manufacturing Practices.

Clinical Trials Center
This center has focused capabilities to test new candidate drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat infectious diseases. It has conducted more than 140 trials composed of 10-14 clinical studies.

Originally developed by WRAIR, the human malaria challenge model enables in-house testing of prophylactics, therapeutics and vaccines. The insectary can produce up to 10,000 mosquitos each week and deliver malaria-carrying mosquitos for clinical studies globally.

Multidrug-Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network
The MRSN is the largest, most comprehensive system in the world to identify multidrug-resistant organisms. MRSN improves clinical care and patient safety by performing rapid susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing of suspect infections. This is a model program, with a centralized laboratory, repository and data that ensures consistency, rapid response and tracking of threats.

Deployment Related Brain Health
WRAIR’s Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research develops evidence-based strategies to diagnose, prevent and mitigate the psychological demands of war, continuous operations and brain trauma associated with military service.

Visit WRAIR on Facebook, or call 301-319-9471 for additional information.