Apr. 15 2015

Center for Infection and Immunity Signs Agreement with Bangladesh

The Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health entered into an agreement with the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, furthering a series of international partnerships to undertake infectious disease surveillance and discovery in Bangladesh.

At the April 14 signing ceremony, Mailman School Dean Linda P. Fried and CII director W. Ian Lipkin met with representatives from the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, National Influenza Centre, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, who also signed the agreement.

“This relationship formalizes our commitment to continuing and expanding our current collaboration with the government of Bangladesh through research and training programs that will both yield scientific insights and build public health infrastructure,” said Lipkin.

The agreement with Bangladesh follows on the heels of similar arrangements with People’s Republic of China and Saudi Arabia, and furthers CII’s efforts to create a “global immune system” for emerging infectious disease threats. In all three countries, CII employs genetic methods to rapidly identify infectious agents—methods pioneered by CII.

Among the poorest countries in the world, Bangladesh is marked by chronic malnutrition, faulty water and sanitation systems, and the highest infant mortality rate in Asia. It is also among the most densely populated, and populous, countries on the planet. The emergence of zoonotic viruses in Bangladesh could augur an almost immediate threat to regional stability and world health.