WRAIR researchers are playing a key role in the ongoing COVID-19 response, building upon the Institute’s ability to rapidly respond to outbreaks on an accelerated timeline to develop diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. Since the beginning of the outbreak, WRAIR and U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command personnel have been working to advance research efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat this latest threat to global health and force readiness.
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The high-quality, mentally tough Soldiers the Army requires must be able to operate in small, highly effective teams in far-forward environments, often without access to air support, evacuation and other capabilities. They must be able to remain lethal for extended periods of time otherwise they risk becoming a liability to themselves and their teammates. One of the most critical components of a maximized human performance is sleep—but fighting cannot reasonably be expected to stop to accommodate a full night’s sleep. The 2B-Alert app makes rapid, personalized recommendations around their sleep habits to support the far-forward Soldier and minimize the danger of sleep loss to themselves and their teammates.
On December 13th, the WRAIR hosted an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MRSN, an infection control resource to military treatment facilities across the entire Military Health System. A global threat, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Military Infectious Diseases Threat Prioritization Panel have named MDR bacteria one of the most consequential infectious disease threats. The MRSN has significant clinical and research impacts, by helping to inform infection control and treatment practices in hospitals as well as providing bacterial samples to test novel antibacterial products.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) hosted a World AIDS Day event Tuesday, Nov. 26, highlighting advances in DoD-led HIV research and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Army-led RV144 HIV vaccine study. WRAIR’s Military HIV Research Program headed the RV144 “Thai study,” the first-ever – and only to-date – clinical trial to demonstrate an HIV vaccine regimen was safe and modestly effective in preventing HIV infection. The RV144 trial represented a massive undertaking for the Army and serves as a model of international and interagency collaboration.
Each summer, over 500 middle and high school students from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area participate in the hands-on science programs Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. GEMS aims to galvanize students’ interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields; promote diversity in STEM careers and curb the summer slide, defined by Scholastic as the loss of significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break and a subsequent skill loss each year. The GEMS program is one of a range of science education and professional development programs offered at WRAIR, including undergraduate and post-graduate (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral) research fellowships, to help develop the next generation of American scientists.
The Military Health System’s Bug Week campaign seeks to answer these questions and educate military personnel and their families around the world about the bugs they encounter. In an exhibit titled “Mosquito Wranglers: A Bug’s Eye View of Medical Research,” three representatives from WRAIR participated in the event, showcasing live examples of the mosquitoes, specimens from an extensive catalogue of disease vectors as well as products developed, tested or utilized at WRAIR for mosquito trapping or prevention. Bug Week continues through August 2 on www.health.mil/bugs and the @MilitaryHealth and @TRICARE accounts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as WRAIR’s own accounts.
On April 26, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research hosted the fourth annual Magill Malaria Forum, entitled “Overcoming Challenges at the Front Lines of Malaria.” The event included remarks by clinicians, researchers and product users followed by a panel discussion to review the current state of malaria research with a special focus on military medical research around the world.
With the passage of 2018, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research marks another year of protecting the nation’s top weapons system – the U.S. Soldier. Throughout the history of armed conflict, non-battle injuries have typically constituted the largest source of casualties. This trend has continued into the 21st century during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom where battle wounds caused less than 20% of evacuations from theater while disease caused approximately 50%. With approximately 2000 Soldiers, federal civilians and contractors across four continents and over two dozen countries, WRAIR provides Soldiers the best medical protection and support possible before, during and after their deployment.
WRAIR celebrates the FDA-licensure of tafenoquine for malaria chemoprophylaxis. Tafenoquine is the latest in a series of products from an extensive antimalarial drug discovery and development pipeline. WRAIR conducted initial drug development and early preclinical and clinical trials at its Silver Spring headquarters, USAMRD-Africa, and AFRIMS before passing responsibility to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and 60° Pharmaceuticals. Tafenoquine is safe, effective against malaria relapse, and enjoys the advantage of less frequent dosing, weekly instead of daily, for malaria prevention.