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Infectious diseases

Our focus has always been on the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world.

Our research     |     Discovery efforts     |     Stories     |     Careers

Our research in infectious diseases has led to profound scientific advances

We’ve been working to combat global health threats caused by infectious diseases for more than a century, which includes pioneering research in HIV science, developing one of the first antibiotics and discovering and developing vaccines. But our work is far from done. Every year, millions of people die from infectious diseases. The world is counting on us to bring forward new approaches to help ease human suffering.

Our work in infectious diseases


years committed to research to help combat the challenges of the HIV epidemic


the year we began producing penicillin G


investigator-initiated antimicrobial stewardship programs funded across the globe are currently active or successfully completed

Our discovery efforts


Our legacy in innovative HIV science continues

We remember when HIV was one of society's most daunting challenges, when millions of people lost their lives to the devastating AIDS epidemic. Our scientists embarked on an urgent mission to unravel and understand the virus, which led to groundbreaking research in HIV. 

We're still driven to do more. We're pushing the boundaries of HIV science because unmet medical need still endures. Eradication of the virus is our ultimate goal.

Read more: Our commitment to HIV treatments and prevention


Collaborating to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Our company has a strong legacy in antimicrobial R&D, with a broad portfolio that spans both human and animal health and includes antibiotics, vaccines and novel approaches to reduce the need for antibiotics. With the growing burden of antimicrobial resistance, we’re committed to dedicating our expertise and resources alongside our partners to support appropriate antibiotic use and encourage increased investment in future research.

We're proud of our commitment to invest $100 million over 10 years in the AMR Action Fund. This groundbreaking partnership of over 20 leading pharmaceutical companies, philanthropies and organizations, aims to bring two to four novel antibiotics to patients and physicians by 2030.

Read more: MSD’s 100-year legacy of antimicrobial innovation and action

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Raising awareness about a common virus

CMV is a common virus and once you have it, it stays in your body for life. For most healthy people, CMV does not cause illness, but in specific vulnerable groups like certain transplant recipients, complications from CMV infection can be serious.

Read more: Why CMV should be on your radar

Ebola Zaire

Joining a partnership to combat a deadly virus

Since the emergence of the Ebola virus in 1976, periodic outbreaks have been a global health challenge. We're proud to be part of the global public-private partnership that has united government, industry, community groups, scientists, health care workers and ordinary people, to come together to help fight this deadly disease.

Read more: Taking on Zaire ebolavirus


Driving scientific discoveries to combat a mosquito-borne illness

With approximately half of the world’s population, or four billion people, at risk dengue is a critical public health challenge. We're working with urgency to advance research and innovation that aims to help protect the millions of people at risk for dengue infection.


Committed to advancing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, we've been focused on contributing our scientific expertise to help address COVID-19.

Read more: Our COVID-19 efforts

Programs that can make a difference

We're leading HIV/AIDS programs that reach patients where they already are

To help address disparities in HIV care, our Foundation established HIV Care Connect. The multi-site initiative aims to reduce disparities in access to HIV care and help improve health outcomes for people living with HIV in the Southeastern U.S. who are disproportionately affected.

Read more: Promoting equity in HIV/AIDS care