Biodefense and Infectious Disease

IITRI has supported the US Government’s efforts to defend against the growing threats of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases for over 40 years. As a premier infectious disease CRO, we offer a wide range of services to evaluate the immunogenicity, efficacy, potency, and safety of vaccines, antitoxins and therapeutics protecting against agents of biological warfare and bioterrorism.

Emerging infectious diseases such as Zika virus, influenza, antibiotic resistant bacteria (i.e., superbugs) or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continue to pose a threat to public health both in the US and abroad. In addition, certain bacterial or viral infectious agents have the potential to be used for bioterrorism purposes when aerosolized, such as Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) and Yersinia pestis (plague). We offer decades of expertise in the evaluation of potential treatments and vaccines against these pathogens, both for public health and biodefense purposes.

Animal Models

We offer an extensive collection of infectious disease animal models that are available for efficacy testing of therapeutic antibiotics or antivirals and vaccines. IITRI also offers complete GLP-compliant preclinical vaccine toxicology programs and Animal Rule studies. We are one of the very few labs in the US that offers GLP-compliant BSL-2 and BSL-3 facilities for infectious disease preclinical studies using select agents.


Our laboratory and vivarium space includes Biosafety Level 2 and 3+ facilities, fully functional with the latest equipment to conduct pathogenic agent studies. We are registered with the CDC and USDA for possession and use of select agents and toxins. In addition, we have the distinction of being one of only two non-government laboratories that operates a Department of the Army approved Biological Surety Program.

Our BSL-3 lab houses our bioaerosol generation and aerosol exposure system for aerosol delivery of pathogens or antiinfective treatments. Bioaerosol delivery is used for viral or bacterial challenge studies and therapeutic efficacy studies for antibiotics or antivirals.

Supporting Laboratories

In vitro Assays

  • RT-PCR and full suite of PCR-based assays
  • ELISA, RIA, Western
  • Assay development, validation and performance

In vitro Efficacy Studies

  • Bacterial Assays

    • MIC Assays
    • Kirby-Bauer Disk Diffusion
  • Viral Assays

    • Plaque Reduction Assays
    • Cytopathic Effect Inhibition Assays
    • Yield Reduction Assays