The Peruvian Navy Surgeon General, RADM Julio C. Cacho-Moran, and Peruvian Navy personnel from the “Direccion de Salud Naval,” as well as Capt. Guillermo Pimentel, commanding officer, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 – Peru (NAMRU-6), visited the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) for a tour of research facilities and a meet-and-greet with Capt. Adam Armstrong, commanding officer, NMRC, June 16.
SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Peruvian Navy Surgeon General, RADM Julio C. Cacho-Moran, and Peruvian Navy personnel from the Direccion de Salud Naval, as well as Capt. Guillermo Pimentel, commanding officer, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 – Peru (NAMRU-6), visited the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) for a tour of research facilities and a meet-and-greet with Capt. Adam Armstrong, commanding officer, NMRC, June 16.
“For over 30 years the Peruvian Navy has hosted the NAMRU-6 laboratory in their "Centro Medico Naval Cirugano Mayor Santiago Tavara.". Our collaboration has been instrumental in carrying out the mission of the NMRC R&D enterprise in South America,” said Pimentel.
The tour included an overview of the NMRC Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) Mobile Labs, led by Lt. Robert Hontz and Petty Officer First Class Jayson Ravago. The first portable laboratory capable of conducting molecular detection was developed by the BDRD in 1991. This unique laboratory allows trained military personnel in the field to quickly conduct confirmatory assays to determine whether biological agents are present.
The tour also included an overview of the Infectious Diseases Directorate (IDD) and an insectary tour. IDD conducts research on infectious diseases considered to be significant threats to deployed Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen. Significant threats are those with the potential to incapacitate a large number of deployed forces over a short time period, hindering the ability of warfighters to accomplish their mission. IDD primarily focuses on four infectious diseases: malaria, bacterial causes of traveler’s diarrhea, dengue fever, and scrub typhus.
“The U.S. Navy is at the forefront of research being conducted on infectious diseases and it’s really amazing to stand in a room full of researchers who may one day find a vaccine against malaria or other diseases,” RADM Cacho-Moran said.
The insectary is a shared Navy/Army asset that allows researchers to cultivate different types of mosquitos that are common vectors for a variety of infectious diseases. The mosquitos are used for various research efforts and are a key component to the work done at NMRC. The insectary tour included a talk from Capt. Judith Epstein, Clinical Director, Clinical Trials Center (CTC), NMRC. The NMRC CTC is responsible for conducting clinical trials on vaccine candidates, most notably, malaria.