Discovery & Exploration of Emerging Pathogens – Viral Zoonoses

Deadline Date – 17-Jun-2021 Funding Limit: More than $1 million

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking applications for a cooperative agreement from qualified entities to implement the Discovery & Exploration of Emerging Pathogens – Viral Zoonoses (DEEP VZN) program.

DEEP VZN Goal: Through in-country institutions, detect and characterize unknown viruses with zoonotic and epidemic/pandemic potential along high-risk chains of transmission to provide data which is publicly shared so that other partners can use them for risk mitigation, policy reform, and development of diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines. Through the new DEEP VZN project, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks to assist a limited number of countries, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to establish capacity to detect, characterize, and disseminate information and findings regarding previously unknown viruses that have originated in wildlife. DEEP VZN will build on more than 15 years of USAID investments in promoting a multisectoral (i.e., “One Health”) approach to addressing emerging zoonotic viruses before they pose an overwhelming epidemic or pandemic threat. Specifically, DEEP VZN will assist targeted African, Asian, and Latin American countries in strengthening their capacities to detect and characterize unknown viruses along chains of transmission where risk profiles favor spillover, amplification, or spread of emerging zoonotic viruses of wildlife origin. Objectives

  • Objective 1: Conduct Sampling in Focus Countries for Unknown Viruses from the Priority Viral Families – A critical aspect of improving the efficiency of detecting unknown viruses is focusing sampling efforts at locations with the greatest potential for finding viruses in the prioritized viral families. Thus, a risk-based approach is key to ensure that sampling is concentrated at places with likely host species and conditions favorable for viral spillover, amplification, and spread.
  • Objective 2: Strengthen Detection in Focus Countries for Novel Viruses from the Priority Viral Families – The ultimate aim of viral detection under DEEP VZN Objective 2 is to screen samples for previously-unknown viruses which can then be characterized under Objective 3. This would primarily focus on prospective samples collected under Objective 1, but could include a limited number of high-value samples from bio-banks in the focus countries. In addition, DEEP VZN may also provide (limited) support to outbreaks of unknown etiology in animals or humans after common pathogens have been ruled out.
  • Objective 3. Strengthen Characterization in Focus Countries of Novel Viruses from the Priority Viral Families – The processes of characterizing viruses to assess their zoonotic and epidemic/pandemic potential are complicated, expensive, and time-consuming. However, this step is crucial to improve understanding of emergence risk profiles, identifying and mapping hotspots of emergence with improved granularity, and prioritizing newly discovered viruses according to their epidemic and pandemic potential. This refined understanding of risk is essential in directing efficient use of resources for precision targeted surveillance, prevention, and preparedness.
  • Objective 4. Strengthen Focus Country Capacities for Data Management and the Viral Characterization Process – To date, many efforts related to viral detection and characterization have face numerous challenges. These include: limited scale (e.g. number of viruses and number of countries); findings often available only in publications (sometimes years after the work is completed or not in a form that can be used by others to take action); and resulting publications not always including in-country staff as lead authors.

Funding Information

  • USAID intends to award one (1) Cooperative Agreement pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity. Subject to funding availability and at the discretion of the Agency, USAID intends to provide up to $125,000,000USD in total USAID funding over a five (5) year period. This Activity will be incrementally funded over the life of the Activity, subject to the availability of funds. However, USAID reserves the right to make more than one award under this NOFO.
  • The estimated start date will be upon signature of the award, on or around October 1, 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Eligibility for this NOFO is not restricted.
  • USAID welcomes applications from organizations that have not previously received financial assistance from USAID.
  • An applicant may submit only one application under this NOFO.

Eligible Countries: Afghanistan Algeria Angola Argentina Bangladesh Benin Bhutan Bolivia Botswana Brazil Brunei Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo (Brazzaville) Congo DR Costa Rica Cote DIvoire (Ivory Coast) Cuba Djibouti Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia Ghana Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Honduras India Indonesia Japan Kazakhstan Kenya South Korea North Korea Kyrgyzstan Laos Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Mongolia Morocco Mozambique Burma(Myanmar) Namibia Nepal Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Oman Pakistan Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Russia Rwanda Saint Helena Sao Tome And Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Somalia South Africa Sri Lanka Sudan Swaziland Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand East Timor (Timor-Leste) Togo Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Uganda Uruguay Uzbekistan Venezuela Viet Nam Western Sahara Zambia Zimbabwe South Sudan

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