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BinCaoWuhan2.jpgDespite the social and economic impact of epidemic infections, historically very little clinical research has been done to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these infections. This is because outbreaks are unpredictable in their timing, location and magnitude, they start and finish quickly, they often occur in resource-poor settings, and the outbreaks themselves disrupt the delivery of healthcare.  The International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) aims to address these difficulties and led by NDM’s Professor Peter Horby,  ISARIC is a world-wide, grass-roots consortium of clinical research networks, responsible for a series of initiatives in capacity-building and pandemic preparedness. ISARIC has previously been deployed against a variety of epidemic infections, including pandemic influenza, Ebola, Lassa fever, and plague.

ISARIC’s pre-positioned ‘epidemic’ research protocols were used to publish the first clinical report of COVID19 in Wuhan in January 2020.  ISARIC has most recently provided a platform for leading UK responses to COVID-19, including the UKRI and DHSC funded ISARIC-4C (Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium), the world’s largest prospective observational COVID-19 study. ISARIC has also supported the UKRI and DHSC funded RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) Trial which Peter is leading.  The NDM hosts  the ISARIC database.

Access to the ISARIC protocols and ethical frameworks in the UK has been a major reason for the rapidity of our scientific research response and ability to prosecute the pre-clinical development of vaccines and other therapies.