Health & Wellness

USU Goes Global in an Effort to Fight the Flu

Two Utah State University faculty members recently received the second installment of a five-year grant valued at more than $2.6 million for their work training scientists around the world to develop flu vaccines.

This installment represents $485,000 and comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The grant is part of the World Health Organizations’ effort to strengthen the ability of developing countries to produce flu vaccines.

In February, 16 scientists from seven countries arrived at USU’s Center for Integrated BioSystems to learn manufacturing techniques for producing flu vaccines in their home countries.

Now, faculty members Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet will visit the participants in their home countries to see how they are progressing. Next year, Rashid and Tarbet will host a second batch of scientists for another training.

Rashid and Tarbet will travel to Bulgaria, Egypt and Capetown, South Africa. The first two visits allow USU’s experienced faculty trainers to assess how the training has been incorporated by participants in their home countries.

“We will work closely with WHO to identify the needs of specific participating countries,” said Tarbet, project co-director. “Site visits allow us to evaluate the manufacturing facilities of the participating countries and focus our training on the needs of the participants.”

In South Africa, Rashid and Tarbet will participate in a workshop organized by WHO/USDHHS addressing issues of global workforce enhancements for vaccine manufacturing. USU is well represented at the conference — Rashid is on the organizing committee, and he and Tarbet present and facilitate discussion on a number of panels.

“We are honored to be among invited participants and high-ranking officials from many countries,” said Rashid, project director. “This program will enhance USU’s global engagement in biomanufacturing workforce development and help people in developing countries.”

After their travels abroad, Rashid and Tarbet will bring what they learned back to USU and will continue to train new participants in preparation to fight a global flu pandemic.

“Engaging with participants in their home countries and participating in international programs improves the quality of the training we are able to offer future participants,” Rashid said. “Most importantly, it allows USU to help fight the spread of influenza around the world.”

Related links:

Contact: Kamal A. Rashid, (435) 797-2739,

Contact: E. Bart Tarbet, (435) 797-3954,

Writer: Jeannine Huenemann, (435) 797-8274,

Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet, USU Center for Integrated BioSystems

Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet from USU's Center for Integrated BioSystems and the Institute for Antiviral Research received the second installment of a $2.6 million grant from USDHHS/BARDA.


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