Research tools developed by the EU-funded PREPARE project are currently being used to collect data on the outbreak of the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared as a global health crisis on Monday this week.
ERS is a key partner in the project, which aims to strengthen preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks across Europe, including arbovirus infections, respiratory infections and infections affecting the central nervous system.
The research tools developed by PREPARE include clinical research protocols and case report forms, which are used to systematically collect essential data and laboratory results for clinical studies. The arbovirus case report forms have been adapted for the current Zika virus outbreaks and made available to use for Zika virus studies on the Global Health Networks website.
The tools will also be available for future responses on the PREPARE website for any researchers to use during infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics for rapid clinical studies globally.
PREPARE is also in the process of setting up a large arbovirus study across countries in South East Europe, which will launch on 1 May. The study will recruit up to 1,500 patients over three years in hospitals with the aim of strengthening networks for early identification and diagnosis of people presenting with any arbovirus infection, including Zika virus. The study is designed to capture the range of symptoms experienced by people infected by any arbovirus spread by parasites, such as ticks, mosquitoes or sand flies.
PREPARE (Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-) emerging Epidemics) is a European Commission Funded partnership, which is building large networks of research organisations, hospitals, primary care sites and laboratories across Europe to be prepared for rapid research during infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics threatening Europe.
PREPARE is carrying out large-scale clinical trials collecting information to inform treatment development and clinical management and to test the networks across Europe. The network activities will strengthen preparedness to rapidly respond to any severe infectious disease outbreak, including arbovirus infections, respiratory infections and infections affecting the central nervous systems, as well as providing real-time evidence for clinical management and inform rapid public health responses to control outbreaks.
ERS is a partner of PREPARE in the CREATE education work package lead by Professor Anita Simonds.