The increased risk of a terrorist attack in the United States involving chemical agents has created new challenges for many departments and agencies across the federal government. Within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH is taking a leadership role in pursuing the development of new and improved medical countermeasures designed to prevent and treat the acute and long-term conditions caused by potential and existing chemical threat agents. Many of these same chemicals not only pose as a terrorist threat agent, they may also be released from transportation and storage facilities during industrial accidents or natural disasters. The overarching goal of the CounterACT program is to integrate cutting-edge research with the latest technological advances in science and medicine for a more rapid and effective response during these chemical emergencies.
The CounterACT program supports basic and translational research aimed at the identification of better therapeutic medical countermeasures against chemical threat agents, and facilitates their movement through the drug development and regulatory processes in collaboration with other federal departments, agencies, and initiatives, such as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (HHS BARDA) and the FDA Medical Countermeasures Initiative (MCMi). CounterACT is part of the HHS Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), which coordinates MCM-related efforts across HHS and USG interagency partners.This NIH-led program includes a comprehensive network of Research Centers of Excellence, individual co-operative research projects, small business innovation research grants, contracts, and interagency agreements with the Department of Defense.
The CounterACT program is funded by a special annual Congressional supplemental appropriation to the NIH budget through the Office of the Director (NIH OD) and operates under the oversight of the Office of Biodefense Research and Surety (OBRS) at the NIAID. This is a trans-NIH effort, involving partnerships with the NEI, NIAID, NIAMS, NICHD, NIEHS, and NINDS to execute the overall NIH Medical Research Program Directed Against Chemical Threats.
Special consideration will be given to research relevant to people who are particularly vulnerable, including pregnant women, infants, the young, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. Animal models and studies that address these vulnerabilities as well as long term effects after an acute exposure event are of interest. An animal model is defined as a specific combination of an animal species, challenge agent, and route of exposure that produces a disease process or pathological condition that in multiple important aspects corresponds to the human disease or condition of interest.
D. Yeung, Ph.D.
Project Manager, CounterACT
National Institutes of Health, NINDS
Gennady E. Platoff Jr., Ph.D.
Biodefense Research Countermeasures
Office of Biodefense Research & Surety
National Institutes of Health, NIAID
Elizabeth Maull, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health, NIEHS, NTP
David Siegel, M.D., F.A.A.P.
National Institutes of Health, NICHD
Hung Tseng, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health, NIAMS
CounterACT Efficacy Research Facility (CERF) (PDF, 110KB)
CounterACT Preclinical Development Facility (CPDF) (PDF, 104 KB)
CounterACT Neurotherapeutics Screening (CNS) Program (PDF, 253KB)
Researchers and Projects
Meetings & Workshops