Many important emerging infectious agents are transmitted via the aerosol route, causing life-threatening pulmonary and systemic infectious diseases. This problem has led to research efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics to be delivered through inhalation and to block the effect of pathogens at the infection site. In this context, the Aerobiology Core is an essential source for research support at the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL), because it promotes the development of animal models mimicking respiratory infection and disease, and provides a venue for testing novel compounds for prevention and treatment. Independently funded research studies are conducted under biosafety 4 containment conditions, maximizing the research efficiency, due to the use of high containment laboratory facilities staffed by dedicated, highly trained scientists and technicians. The Core provides standardized aerosol exposures for various species of experimental animals, using either whole body, head- or nose-only modules as appropriate to scientific projects. Models using a wide range of organisms (category A, B and C agents and other emerging infectious pathogens) and different animal species (rodents, non-human primates and lagomorphs) are continuously developed by Core staff in response to investigator needs. Safe and efficient Aerobiology Core operations require optimal coordination amongst a number of NEIDL other cores. The NEIDL Aerobioiology Core focuses on the delivery of pathogens, biologically active substances and vaccines via aerosols to respiratory tract of experimental animals.
A fully functional aerobiology core is a critical lynchpin for emerging infectious diseases and biodefensefocused research. Aerosol exposure is the route of infection for many of the most important naturally occurring category A-C pathogens and is the most likely route of exposure in an intentional release. In addition to allowing research on the pathogenesis of these infectious agents there is considerable interest in developing vaccines, biologicals and therapeutics delivered by the aerosol route.