Following increased reports of Zika virus cases in the Americas, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1, 2016.
Zika virus infection is generally diagnosed clinically through the assessment of signs/symptoms and potential exposure, followed by confirmatory testing. Available tests were performed only at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Arbovirus Diagnostic Laboratory and some state public health departments. In addition, there was no specific antiviral treatment available for Zika virus, and there is no vaccine available to prevent Zika virus infection.
In March 2016, the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and CDC’s Technology Transfer Office worked with the Office of General Counsel at the National Institutes of Health and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to structure a one-page Emergency Use Simple Letter Agreement (EUSLA) for the rapid and robust transfer of Zika virus and specimens.
The NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases used existing infrastructure to disseminate research materials via the Biological and Emerging Infections Research Resources Repository (BEI Resources).
Zika specimens, diagnostic assays, and other valuable Zika materials (i.e., reagents) were shared with academic institutions, companies, and public health agencies worldwide.
BEI Resources has received deposits of Zika materials from 17 organizations, including CDC, NIAID, and three other federal agencies, and has fulfilled 1,865 requests for Zika materials under EUSLA. A total of 430 agreements were put in place to allow the shipment of Zika materials to 124 universities, hospitals, and research institutes; 43 biotech and pharma companies; 16 federal agencies and state public health departments; and four foreign governments. Materials were distributed to 35 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and 23 countries.
Contact: Dr. Mukul Ranjan, (240) 627-3725, [email protected]