From international guidelines to economic stimulus and legislative support, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is now global leaders’ top priority. Leading the research efforts is the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH's) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). As NIAID’s director for more than 30 years, Anthony Fauci, MD is one of the few, regular faces associated with COVID-19 in the United States. On April 23, 2020, the agency announced that it will spearhead a strategic plan to research a vaccine for COVID-19. 

The plan has four key parts:  

  • Conducting studies to characterize and better understand how COVID-19 causes infection and disease 

  • Developing rapid, accurate diagnostics to identify, isolate, and track COVID-19 diagnoses 

  • Characterizing and testing potential treatments for COVID-19 

  • Developing safe and effective vaccines to protect individuals from infection and prevent future outbreaks 

NIH Director Francis Collins cited NIH's work in a blog post about the challenges of tracking COVID-19’s spread. He pointed to some promising discoveries but admitted that much is still unknown.  

“Of course, all these approaches depend upon widespread access to point-of-care testing that can give rapid results,” Collins said, asking the public to continue reviewing NIH’s website for more details.