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General introduction

The EU's Research programme on Infectious Diseases comprises Poverty Related Diseases (PRD), including the three main scourges HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, Neglected Infectious Diseases, Anti-microbial Drug Resistance and Emerging Epidemics.

There are two main objectives for PRD research. The first one is to develop new promising candidate vaccines and therapies, covering the full spectrum from basic molecular research through preclinical tests and proof-of-principle on promising candidates. The second objective is to supervise the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), which is a unique European/African collaboration for phase II and III clinical evaluation of vaccines and drugs against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and of HIV microbicides.

The work on Neglected Infectious Diseases (NID) focuses on capacity building in disease endemic countries, interventions and early discovery research on vaccines and therapies against diseases with a major impact on human health and with clearly defined unmet medical needs, as defined by the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.

Research on Antimicrobial Drug Resistance covers a broad range of multi-drug resistant pathogens and approaches. The aim is to address key pathogens and groups of pathogens causing major drug resistance problems through multi-disciplinary translational research, bringing basic research forward through clinical research to improved patient management and towards product oriented research on new diagnostic tests, treatments and prevention strategies.

Emerging Epidemics is a novelty in the programme aimed to respond to the research needs related to the threat of emerging epidemics with pandemic potential and to help improving our preparedness to identify and control the unforeseen. With an initial focus on pandemic influenza in the calls of 2006 and 2007, the latest focus has been on reinforcing general pandemic preparedness and capacity building across a broader range of viral pathogens.