studies of (a) molecular diversity and epidemiology of hepatitis C, (b) epidemiology of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome viruses, and (c) smallpox and monkeypox genome sequence diversity. Numerous other cooperative projects in the biomedical sciences were also initiated in Russia, including projects at Vector, with support from various U.S. agencies. A number of projects were devoted to studying the molecular epidemiology of pathogens of public health importance in Russia: viral hepatitis, intestinal infections, influenza virus, tuberculosis, rubella, measles, HIV, herpes, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. Also, research concerning an HIV vaccine was initiated. Public health projects were later supported by Russian funding agencies as well. Aerobiology of sensitive pathogens was supported and led to the series of well-accepted publications in international journals. Another group of projects was devoted to upgrading biosafety and biosecurity systems by sharing best practices in design, installation, and operation of engineering systems, which were installed and have been successfully maintained at Vector for many years.
International funding allowed for (a) the purchase of materials, reagents, and modern laboratory equipment, (b) disbursement of research grants for individual scientists and teams of scientists, and (c) travel to conferences. The result of these concerted efforts was to bring Russian laboratories up to international standards, while stabilizing the financial situation at Vector and other facilities. In 2002, international funding accounted for more than 25 percent of Vector’s budget.
Vector and the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology in Obolensk were initially under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, but in 2005 they were moved under the supervision of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being. The active engagement of the Federal Service with the two centers provided steady financial support for their research activities.
By 2004, international funding of biosciences projects at Vector had begun to decrease, in part because of (a) policies of the Federal Service and Ministry of Health and (b) U.S. insistence of U.S. agencies that Vector scientists agree not to accept funding from certain foreign organizations that did not support U.S. nonproliferation objectives. Funding from international sources has largely been replaced by increasing Russian government support.
The current world-class scientific research conducted at Vector would not have been possible without the intellectual, financial, and engineering investments from foreign partners, including the ISTC, CRDF, U.S. government agencies, and international organizations.
SOURCE: Multiple sources including Vector and committee members.