MIDRP Overview History & Achievements Current Research Efforts External Programs

Vaccines: The discovery and development of vaccines to protect the warfighter is a priority for MIDRP. Vaccines can be administered prior to deployment, thereby obviating the need for prophylactic medication while protecting service members and reducing the medical logistic burden. Since the passing of the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendment, which added the FDA requirement for proof of efficacy in addition to proof of safety for human products, there have been 28 innovative vaccines licensed in the U.S, including 13 vaccines currently designated for pediatric use. These 28 innovative vaccine products targeted new microorganisms, utilized new technology, or consisted of novel combinations of vaccines. Of these 28, the U.S. military played a significant role in the development of 7 licensed vaccines (25% of the total, or 40% if pediatric vaccines are excluded):

More than half of the routine vaccines given to service members were co-developed by the military. Development of other licensed vaccines was supervised by investigators who began their careers at military research centers (e.g. yellow fever vaccine by former Army Surgeon General William Gorgas, mumps, measles, and varicella vaccines by Maurice Hilleman, and oral polio vaccine by Albert Sabin). Vaccines currently in advanced development stages include new adenovirus vaccines, and vaccines for malaria, dengue, and hepatitis E.

Drugs: MIDRP has contributed to the development of most synthetic drugs licensed in the United States for the prevention and treatment of malaria, including:

Next generation antimalarial drugs include tafenoquine and an intravenous formulation of artesunate.

Diagnostics: MIDRP diagnostics products include fieldworthy devices to diagnose human infections (such as Scrub Typhus), and to determine if insects are carrying infectious agents transmissible to humans (such as Malaria Parasites and West Nile Virus).

Vector Control:Vector Control Products include personal protective devices (such as insect repellents, insecticides and bednets) to prevent mosquitoes, ticks and sandflies from biting service members. Additional products include computer-based systems to identify potentially disease-carrying insects in the field.

Genome:Understanding the malaria genome is key to development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic methods for this disease, which can render military personnel unable to fight and cause life-threatening illness.

Other Contributions: Licensed products reflect only a small portion of the contributions of the U.S. military to infectious diseases research. The U.S. military has been involved in the development of vaccines that serve as useful research tools, but were not licensed because of declining need. Examples include: (1) a 1945 multivalent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine (which showed benefits, but because of confidence in the newly available drug penicillin, a vaccine was not licensed until 1977), and (2) the 1938 Cox vaccine to prevent louse-borne typhus used in World War II. Other contributions range from the demonstration that yellow fever was transmitted by a virus by Major Walter Reed in 1900 to the treatment of cholera by Captain R.A. Phillips in the 1940's (which led to development of oral rehydration solution) to the publication of the complete malaria genome in 2000. U.S. military physicians have authored and co-authored thousands of research publications elucidating the etiology, ecology, epidemiology and pathophysiology of many infectious diseases leading to effective treatment and control measures. Additionally, long-term deployment of military scientists to DoD laboratories in the tropics over the last 100 years has accelerated scientific discoveries, product development and assisted technology transfer of research techniques and tropical disease control measures to developing countries.