The Special Pathogens Research Network: Enabling Research Readiness.

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Health Secur


Clinical research; Ebola virus disease; Investigational therapeutics; Special pathogens


The 2013-2016 epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) that originated in West Africa underscored many of the challenges to conducting clinical research during an ongoing infectious disease epidemic, both in the most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, as well as in the United States and Europe, where a total of 27 patients with EVD received care in biocontainment units. The Special Pathogens Research Network (SPRN) was established in the United States in November 2016 to provide an organizational structure to leverage the expertise of the 10 Regional Ebola and Other Special Pathogen Treatment Centers (RESPTCs); it was intended to develop and support infrastructure to improve readiness to conduct clinical research in the United States. The network enables the rapid activation and coordination of clinical research in the event of an epidemic and facilitates opportunities for multicenter research when the RESPTCs are actively caring for patients requiring a biocontainment unit. Here we provide an overview of opportunities identified in the clinical research infrastructure during the West Africa EVD epidemic and the SPRN activities to meet the ongoing challenges in the context of Ebola virus and other special pathogens.


Infectious Diseases