For 50 years, the AFRIMS has been a benchmark of success in tropical infectious disease research and development. Founded as the SEATO laboratory to help combat a cholera outbreak it was renamed AFRIMS in 1977. It has acquired new disease research missions and has refocused many times to meet new challenges. We now have programs in Enteric Diseases (infectious causes of diarrhea), malaria vaccine and drug research, viral diseases especially dengue fever and hepatitis, an Entomology department dedicated study of disease vectors and the Retrovirology department which has been organized to execute vaccine studies for the HIV-AIDS virus. A recently initiated program to monitor new, emerging disease threats as a part of a Global Emerging Diseases Surveillance system is now underway.
AFRIMS has many unique features – strengths responsible for its continued success. It has a dual Royal Thai Army and US Army Command with the American Component being a special foreign activity of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington DC. AFRIMS biggest asset, the over 300 members of the combined staff, are a highly integrated group of US and Thai military and civilians from both countries. The US Component Commander is on the US Ambassador’s Country Team for Thailand and provides advice to the country team on biomedical issues.